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Logged positive antigen on portal won’t qualify for recovery cert – Seven things we learned from HSE Covid briefing

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Coronavirus hospitalisations are continuing to rise as the national 14-day incidence rate remains extremely high at just over 6,000 cases per 100,000 population.

However, there was a glimmer of hope from today’s weekly HSE Covid-19 briefing as HSE Chief executive Paul Reid said the number of cases progressing to hospitalisations has significantly decreased. 

Here are seven things we learned from today’s briefing: 

1. The healthcare system is extremely overwhelmed both due to a high number of hospitalisations and absent staff 

HSE Chief executive Paul Reid said the health system is currently very overwhelmed as 15,000 of the workforce is currently absent. 

He said this current strain on the system is “like tackling this wave with one arm tied behind our back”. 

2. 40pc of people in hospital with coronavirus have had no vaccinations 

According to the HSE CEO, there are currently 1011 people in hospital with Covid-19, of which 40pc have not had any vaccinations. 

Of the 92 people in intensive care, he said 48pc have not been fully vaccinated. 

Of the 1011 people in hospital with coronavirus, Mr Reid said 30pc of these were not primarily hospitalised due to Covid-19 and they were admitted for another reason and happened to have coronavirus. 

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He said this shows how rampant the virus is in the community as when Delta was the dominant strain around 90pc of people being admitted for Covid-19 were admitted for having the virus. 

"The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has increased but the pace of increase seems to have slowed down, it is still up 12pc on the same day last week and 62pc on the same day two weeks ago,” Mr Reid added. 

3. The number of cases progressing to hospitalisations has significantly decreased

Mr Reid said the number of cases progressing to hospitalisations has significantly decreased. 

He said there were around 50 hospitalisations for every 1,000 cases in January 2021, and now we are seeing five to 10 hospital admissions per 1,000 cases.

However, he stressed that these two statistics can’t directly be compared as the State had an unvaccinated population last January. 

4. One in 16 people in Ireland have had a positive PCR test in the past two weeks

In the past two weeks, one in 16 people in Ireland has had a positive PCR test, according to HSE Chief clinical officer Colm Henry. 

Speaking at the weekly HSE coronavirus briefing today, Dr Henry said a quarter of all Covid-19 cases in the past 12 months were confirmed since the beginning of January. 

However, the number of cases being reported is likely to be even higher as the PCR testing service is overwhelmed and certain cohorts of people are being asked to just use antigen tests. 

5. Logging a positive antigen test into the HSE’s new portal won’t qualify for a recovery certificate

From tomorrow, a portal will open that will allow those who have a positive antigen test to log it in with the HSE and have their close contacts alerted. 

However, Damien McCallion, head of the vaccination programme, said people will not be able to receive a recovery certificate through this method- it is solely for public health reasons. 

He added that people will have to have either a professional PCR test or antigen test to receive a certificate. 

"In any self-testing system you’re reliant on the person to give information,” Mr McCallion said.

"It’s important to remember the purpose of it- the purpose is so you can give the person the public health advice and identify the close contacts. 

"So, it isn’t for any other purpose.”

6. Over 700k people who are eligible to get a booster have not yet opted for one

The HSE boss is encouraging those who haven’t yet received a booster vaccine to get one, saying there are approximately 715,000 people who are eligible to be boosted but haven’t yet presented for the jab. 

7. 28pc of long-term residential facilities are facing a coronavirus outbreak

Chief operations officer for the HSE, Anne O’Connor, said there has been a significant increase in outbreaks in long-term residential facilities.

"We currently have 506 outbreaks across residential care and hospitals,” she said.

"We are seeing a significant increase in outbreaks, we are seeing 160 outbreaks in our older person services, 28pc now have an outbreak which is a very high number.”

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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