There are 400 people sick in hospital with Covid-19 today for the first time in seven months, latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show.
he last time hospitalisation figures last broke 400 was on March 8. There are also 75 people seriously ill with the virus in ICUs, this is the highest figures recorded since March 25 of this year.
Four in ten people who were hospitalised in recent weeks were unvaccinated, and nearly 70pc of those in ICU have not had a vaccine, the HSE has said.
It is estimated there are still between 40,000 and 50,000 people over the age of 40 that are unvaccinated.
The rising figures are “absolutely a concern” to the HSE, chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has said.
“These numbers are higher than we would like, there’s no doubt about that, but they’re much lower than they would be, when you look at the number of daily cases, if it wasn’t for our vaccination programme,” Dr Henry told RTÉ News.
“That link between cases and harm is severely weakened but not completely broken.
“40pc of those hospitalised are now unvaccinated and of those coming into ICUs severely ill with Covid-19, 69pc are unvaccinated.”
The CCO said if the remaining unvaccinated cohort get sick, this could in turn put pressure on the health service.
Because non-Covid services have resumed, coupled with the rise in Covid hospitalisations, hospitals are under “a lot of strain”.
“We are seeing particular pressure on ICUs. We have precious little beds in the ICU system – albeit expanded during Covid – but any additional surge would see great strain put on our system,” Dr Henry said.
Pregnant women in their last trimester are “disproportionately” affected by Covid and entering ICU at higher rates when compared to other people of similar ages.
Dr Henry said the numbers are worrying and he encouraged more pregnant women to avail of the vaccine. He said the HSE estimates that “30-plus percent” of pregnant women are vaccinated but said it “needs to be more”.