A record 28,000 people went to the emergency room last week as hospitals continue to struggle

A record number of more than 28,000 people have visited the emergency room over the past week as hospitals continue to come under severe pressure, said HSE’s Dr Colm Henry.

The Chief Medical Officer agreed with the Irish Medical Organization’s Dr Mick Molloy’s assessment that emergency room overcrowding is a ‘persistent and serious threat’ to patients and said: ‘it is something that no one wants to see”.

There were 515 patients on trolleys waiting for hospital beds across the country on Wednesday, according to INMO trolley watch figures, including 68 at Limerick University Hospital alone.

There are up to 3,000 healthcare workers currently out of work due to Covd-19 which has been “very disruptive” and is having a “significant impact” on the management of patient flow in hospitals, said Dr Henry.

“We saw a record number of ER visits last week, over 28,000 patients attended – this is a new record. The conversion of these patients into admissions, although a bit lower, is still very worrying.

“Besides the discomfort and the obvious bad experience people might have in emergency departments, certainly for older people and people with chronic conditions, it can affect their outcomes and we don’t want to see that,” he said. said Dr Henry on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. .

There has been a particular jump in the presentation of older people to the emergency room, more than 30% more than last year and people are presenting “perhaps more frail and sicker due to their experiences in recent years” . These admissions tend to be longer and discharges more complicated, the HSE CCO said.

Dr Henry said there had been a ‘disturbing increase’ in the number of people hospitalized with the virus in recent days, but said around half of the 829 patients were incidental positives and not primarily Covid-19 sick. 19.

“Even those in intensive care with Covid, 99% would have already been sick with Covid, but that has fallen to around 57% in recent weeks,” said Dr Henry.

The ability of the virus to cause harm is “significantly reduced”, said Dr Henry, and the HSE is now focusing on high-risk settings rather than mass testing of everyone with symptoms.

“We focus on individual advice rather than general public health advice. The advice we have for everyone is that if they are showing symptoms, they should self-isolate and stay in self-isolation within 48 hours of the symptoms going away. We are withholding advice for certain at-risk groups, the elderly, to come forward for testing.

“We are now focusing on where the virus has the greatest capacity to do harm,” Dr Henry said.

Lillian L. Pena