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Almost 1,000 people in hospital in Ireland with confirmed or suspected Covid-19

A total of 98 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases are being treated in intensive care.

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More than 176,000 Covid-19 tests have been completed in Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

More than 176,000 Covid-19 tests have been completed in Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

More than 176,000 Covid-19 tests have been completed in Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

More than 950 patients are being treated in Irish hospitals with confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus.

Of these, 98 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases were being treated in intensive care units around the country as of Sunday morning, the HSE said.

Chief operations officer Anne O’Connor said the health service has not seen the kind of numbers it had originally feared.

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Paul Reid said capacity will be reserved in private hospitals in case of a surge in Covid-19 cases (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paul Reid said capacity will be reserved in private hospitals in case of a surge in Covid-19 cases (Photocall Ireland/PA)

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Paul Reid said capacity will be reserved in private hospitals in case of a surge in Covid-19 cases (Photocall Ireland/PA)

The briefing also heard the HSE has a plan for private hospitals to carry out urgent procedures that are not coronavirus-related that may have been delayed due to the outbreak.

“Our original intention for the use of the private hospitals was as part of our surge capacity and to give us extra capacity to meet the demand over Covid-19,” HSE chief executive Paul Reid said.

“Obviously with the actions the public have taken we have reduced that need for that surge so now we are putting together a plan for non-Covid-related services to be delivered through our private hospital groups.

“But at the same time we have to keep capacity to meet a potential further surge (of Covid-19).”

PPE continues to be a challenge for us in some areasAnne O'Connor

Mr Reid also provided an update on testing, saying it has taken place in 80% of nursing homes.

Across the board, Mr Reid said more than 176,000 tests had been completed as of Friday, which he said sustains Ireland in the top five or six European countries for testing.

“It’s all about building up a capacity to do 100,000 tests per week, we’ll have this in place for the week of May 18,” he said.

He added there have been some positive trends in terms of monitoring the virus but cautioned it is “far too early to make any judgments so our focus in the HSE is providing the right care for those who do contract the virus”.

Ms O’Connor said eight million pieces of personal protective equipment arrived in Ireland over the last week, of which 62% has been sent to long-term residential care and home care.

She said 600 deliveries are being made every day, of which 220 are to residential care, 113 to GPs and 37 to acute hospitals.

“PPE continues to be a challenge for us in some areas … we know we can’t always meet what people want in terms of PPE but we ensure that people get whatever they need in as much as we can meet that requirement across the public and private settings,” she said.

Mr Reid said there is progress in the number of Irish companies working with the HSE producing PPE items including hand sanitisers, respiratory masks, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and aprons.

PA