Covid surge could put non-urgent hospital procedures at risk

Covid surge could put non-urgent hospital procedures at risk
Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

James Cox

The latest Covid wave is having a "significant impact" on patients in emergency departments, according to a leading HSE official.

There are 812 patients in hospital with the virus - more than twice as many as three weeks ago.

Head of the Saolta Hospital Group, Tony Canavan, said he hopes we're at the top of the current wave.


He also said the recent surge in affecting hospitals - and could lead to non-urgent procedures being cancelled again.

Mr Canavan told Newstalk: "All of our emergency departments are extremely busy, and we have high numbers of admissions, but the availability of beds has been reduced because of Covid, so even an outbreak on a ward means beds cannot be used for a period of time.

"We have seen an increase in the number of patients waiting for admission and on trolleys. If the numbers were to rise we would see an increase in numbers on trolleys and we would have to start looking at the elective procedures."

Covid wave

Meanwhile, the HSEโ€™s chief clinical officer has said it is a โ€œtough messageโ€ that people who contracted the Delta variant of Covid-19 last year now have no protection against infection.


Dr Colm Henry said people were being reinfected in the latest wave of the virus by the current Omicron subvariants BA4 and BA5.

It comes as just under 200 deaths linked to the disease were recorded in June, as Ireland experiences another surge in cases with previous protection from reinfection now "gone".

โ€œIt is a tough message to get across that people who got Delta last year have no protection,โ€ Dr Henry told Newstalkโ€™s Pat Kenny show.

The vaccine offered longer-lasting protection, he added. โ€œThings would be much worse if 96 per cent had not been primarily vaccinated. It is an extraordinary figure.โ€