Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

07.42 26 Mar 2020


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The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet this morning to consider establishing COVID-19 specific hospitals.

A further 235 new cases were confirmed in the Republic last night, bringing the total number of cases here to 1,564.

There were a further two deaths, bringing the total death toll to nine.

As of Monday night, 26% of patients had been hospitalised, with 39 cases being admitted to ICU.

Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, says they are considering designating hospitals specifically for COVID-19.

 

He explained: "We're pursuing that particular method with our own hospitals at the moment by segregating off COVID-19 patients as much as we can within hospitals into which cases are coming.

"But [we're also] looking at designated hospitals within urban areas."

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said they haven't decided yet where any coronavirus-specific hospitals would be located, but stressed that the measure is only being considered at this morning's meeting and that no final decision has been made.

The latest meeting of public health officials here comes after the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned that many EU countries "will experience demands that far exceed currently available ICU capacity" in the coming weeks.

It also comes two weeks after the Taoiseach announced the first batch of social distancing measures for Ireland in a bid to curb the spread of the virus within communities.

Personal protective gear

Meanwhile, Health Minister Simon Harris has insisted healthcare staff will have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with the coronavirus crisis - saying a huge amount of gear will arrive in the next few days to address any current shortages.

He said that the gear is currently being prepared in China, and he thanked airline crews here who are working to deliver it back to Ireland as soon as possible.

The first batch of new PPE is now expected to arrive here later this week, with Minister Harris says it's looking like the delivery will take place on Sunday.

Main image: Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan. Picture by: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times/PA Wire/PA Images

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