Record 23,817 new Covid cases confirmed in hospital with 941 virus patients

A daily record of 23,817 new cases of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the state.

New cases were reported from the Health Department on Thursday evening. The department also said that there are now 941 Covid-19 patients in state hospitals, of which 90 are in ICU.

According to HSE Chief Executive Officer Paul Reid, at least 8,500 healthcare workers are currently off work due to COVID-19 infection or close contact.

This is equivalent to one in eight workers in healthcare, and includes 3,000 nurses and midwives and 1,500 workers working in patient care.

But he warned that the actual number could be double this manual count due to the spurt in infections over the past week.

Mr Reid was speaking during the HSE media briefing on Thursday.

HSE chief operating officer Anne O’Connor told the briefing that healthcare sites are forecasting an employee absenteeism rate of around 12 percent — the equivalent of 14,000-15,000 employees. He said absenteeism rates varied from site to site, with some recording rates as high as 20 percent. In the National Ambulance Service, 260 people are currently unavailable for work.

Mr Reid described the current phase of the pandemic as “very uncertain in terms of the impact of the [the new] omicron [variant],