An intensive care boss has said hospital staff are “considerably worried” over the risks of a second wave of coronavirus as Ireland relaxes its quarantine rules.
Dr Catherine Motherway, president of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland, said there is particular concern ahead of next winter’s flu season as the hospital system is always under pressure during that period.
Experts have warned of the dangers of a second wave hitting the country if it moves too quickly to relax restrictions on people’s movement.
Professor Motherway told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “I think we’re all considerably worried about that (second wave) in the hospital services because we will always be stressed and under pressure in the winter anyway because of the flu season.
“We do have an anxiety about that and I think the entire hospital system is trying to increase its capacity. We’re going to have to run at less capacity than before, we’re going to have to try and get rid of trolley waits.
“That’s going to be very difficult and will be a significant challenge for those of us trying to get elective surgical activity through the hospital system in the winter.”
The professor said it will take time to see which restrictions, when they are lifted, will have an impact on the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19.
She said the Government’s phased plan is “appropriate” and added any decision to move through the road map quicker has to be based on science.
Significant milestone today. First day with no reported #CoVid19 deaths since March 21st. This is a day of hope. We will prevail.— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) May 25, 2020
She added: “Currently, we have just under 50 people with confirmed Covid in ICU and about two days ago when I looked at the information we had 279 patients in intensive care beds in Ireland, which was above our baseline capacity at the very start of this.
“I think that what we’re currently doing is appropriate. I think if there are people who will accelerate it that should be based on science and not necessarily on a particular piece of worry.
“I do think we need to balance the science against the economic realities of life – we do have to get back out and earn a living.”
On Monday, Ireland recorded no new Covid-19 deaths for the first time since March. The total number of Covid-19 related deaths is 1,606.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hailed the news as a “day of hope”.
The last day when no death was reported in Ireland was on March 21.
A further 59 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed, bringing the number to 24,698.