Hospital case numbers have been rising recently

Hospital case numbers have been rising recently

While virtually all Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted for some months now in Ireland, hospital case numbers have been rising recently.

As of now, there are over 700 people with Covid-19 in hospital beds out of around 12,000 acute hospital beds in the whole system.

The number infected in hospitals is expected to rise further.

Many patients were admitted for other reasons but just happened to test positive.

Others are catching the virus while in hospital.

Thankfully doctors say this is nothing like previous waves.

However, the big problem for the Irish health system is that the latest rise in Covid-19 hospital case numbers will inevitably mean more cancelled planned operations in the weeks and months ahead.

The rolling impact of this will be serious for already long waiting lists.

There are indications that the current Covid surge will peak soon, but no one is quite sure when.

The rise in hospital cases also puts pressure on staff and is leading to more health service staff being infected and procedures cancelled too because of absences.

Covid cases also mean some wards are not useable as they have to be closed for infection control and cleaning after patients with the disease have been discharged.

Also, non-Covid patients can not be placed in wards with Covid patients, so that also limits access to beds in hospitals after surgery.

There are also fears that the autumn/winter period could see a further surge in Covid-19 cases.

So much uncertainty ahead.

The inevitable consequences of all this are delayed surgery for thousands more Irish patients unfortunately.