Most Covid hospitalizations are among the over-65s and the virus is here for the long haul, interim chief medical officer warns

Most Covid-19 hospitalizations are in people over the age of 65 and the virus is here for the medium to long term, Acting Chief Medical Officer Prof Breda Smyth said today.

Rof Smyth, who died this summer after the retirement of Dr. Tony Holohan temporarily taking over last week said around three-quarters of Covid hospital admissions are for people over the age of 65.

She spoke as the number of patients with Covid-19 stood at 849 today, down from yesterday as around 125 patients with the virus were admitted daily.

Uptake of a second booster shot in those over 65 has been slow, although recently improving by about 10 per cent amid the rise in cases.

Prof Smyth said vaccines continue to offer strong protection against serious diseases and numbers are stable in intense cases due to complications from the virus.

Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly said that of around 27 patients with Covid-19 in intensive care over the past week, around nine were there directly because of the virus.

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However, Prof Smyth said the official figures for positive cases in the community following PCR or home antigen testing do not reflect the true level of infection, which is significantly higher.

Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate for up to 48 hours after they leave, or for seven days if they test positive.

Both the minister and Prof Smyth ruled out introducing restrictions to combat the current wave.

Prof Smyth said: “Covid is here in the medium to long term and we must learn to adapt to it.”

The National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC) is still evaluating how a fall booster rollout will work and who qualifies.

Presenting the annual report of the National Women and Infants Health Program (NWIHP), the minister reiterated that he hoped that in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be funded but could not say if it would be included September budget.

Mr Donnelly said: “Women will have more choices when it comes to maternity care in 2021, with 24 per cent of pregnant women booked on the Supported Care Pathway. More women could also use more community services as additional community midwifery services and early transfer services become available.

“We’ve also seen brand new services come online, with additional outpatient gynecology clinics as well as the establishment of specialist endometrial and menopausal clinics in Tallaght and the National Maternity Hospital.

“2021 has been a challenging year for HSE, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the cyber attack on HSE systems, but this report shows that the program has continued to make significant progress in 2021.”

According to the report, lactation consultants are now present in all 19 maternity services, with 7.5 full-time equivalents of those positions funded by the NWIHP in 2021, while all 19 maternity services are now providing midwife-led care.

According to the report, most women seeking menopause support can find effective support from their GP. However, some symptomatic women require specific medical expertise, which is treated in the specialized menopause clinics that are being set up across the country. The first specialized menopause clinic opened in December 2021 at the National Maternity Hospital. Most Covid hospitalizations are among the over-65s and the virus is here for the long haul, interim chief medical officer warns

Fry Electronics Team

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