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Hospital admissions on rise

Hospital admissions on rise

Hospital admissions on rise

The number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 has more than doubled since the beginning of the month.

While admissions to intensive care have also rose, there is a wider worrying picture around activity in our hospitals that is being missed.

Behind the daily statistics around the second wave of the virus is a return to a fall in the number of people with potentially serious non-Covid-19 conditions attending emergency departments.

This has raised fears that some people with heart attacks and strokes are not seeking medical treatment as a result of worries of catching the virus and being careful about breaching the 5km from home limit.

This reduction could also include people who have symptoms that might turn out to be cancer.

There were 341 Covid-19 patients in hospital yesterday evening, up from 150 in early October.

Of these patients, 38 were in intensive care, compared to 24 earlier in the month. There is currently access to around 280 critical care beds.

There does not seem to be a spike in Covid-19 admissions, although the unpredictable spread of the virus means its unclear just how full wards and intensive care units could get.

But unlike the first phase of the pandemic there is now a greater flow of Covid-19 patients through hospitals, so although there are ongoing admissions there are also significant number of discharges.

Knowledge

This may be due to a number of reasons, including the age of those infected, access to drugs like remdesivir and the greater level of knowledge among doctors about the virus in assessing patients.

If the lockdown continues to reduce the spread, and fewer at-risk groups are affected, this will hopefully in turn ease the pressure on hospitals.

There is also concern for the decrease in men diagnosed with prostate cancer - another potential signal that symptoms are being ignored.

Figures supplied by the HSE last Thursday, as Level 5 was just starting, showed emergency department attendances down 4.7pc in a week. They were also 18pc lower than the same week last year.

Among over-75s, attendances fell 4.1pc and were 23pc down versus the same day last year.

"Attendances have gone down, not to where they were in March but they have gone down. It is a concerning trend that needs to be watched, she warned," said HSE chief operations officer Ann O' Connor.

Hospitals in Dublin have seen a 10.4pc fall in emergency attendances.

Similar patterns have been seen in hospitals around the Border, including Cavan and Letterkenny.

"We want to encourage people if they need to attend emergency services. Our emergency services are safe and if you need to attend, please do," said Ms O'Connor.


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