Will not be eligible for positive antigen recovery certificate logged on portal – Seven things we learned from HSE COVID briefing

Coronavirus hospitalizations continue to rise as the national 14-day incidence rate remains very high, at more than 6,000 cases per 100,000 population.

Over, there was a glimmer of hope from today’s weekly HSE COVID-19 briefing as HSE Chief Executive Officer Paul Reid said the number of hospitalizations had come down significantly.

Here are seven things we learned from today’s briefing:

1. The healthcare system is overwhelmed by the high number of hospitalizations and absenteeism

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the health system is currently overwhelmed as the 15,000 workforce is currently absent.

He said this current stress on the system is “like tackling this wave with one hand behind your back”.

2. 40 percent of the people infected with the corona virus in the hospital have not had any vaccination

According to the CEO of HSE, at present there are 1011 people suffering from Kovid-19 in the hospital, out of which 40 percent have not received any vaccination.

Of the 92 people in intensive care, he said 48 percent had not been fully vaccinated.

Of the 1011 people in the hospital with coronavirus, Mr Reid said of these, 30 PCs were not hospitalized mainly because of Covid-19 and were admitted for some other reason and had coronavirus.

He said this shows how widespread the virus is in the community because when Delta was the dominant strain, about 90 percent of those admitted to have the virus were admitted to have the virus.

“The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has increased, but the pace of increase has slowed, it is still 12pc on the same day last week and 62pc on the same day two weeks ago,” Mr Reid said.

3. The number of hospitalization cases has come down significantly

Mr Reid said the number of hospitalizations had come down significantly.

He said in January 2021 there were about 50 hospitalizations for every 1,000 cases, and now we are seeing five to 10 hospitalizations per 1,000 cases.

However, I have emphasized that these two figures cannot be directly compared as the state had a disproportionate population last January.

4. One in 16 people in Ireland have had a positive PCR test in the past two weeks

In the past two weeks, one in 16 people in Ireland have had a PCR test positive, according to HSE Chief Clinical Officer Colm Henry.

Speaking at the weekly HSE coronavirus briefing today, Dr Henry said a quarter of all Covid-19 cases had been confirmed in the past 12 months since early January.

However, the number of cases being reported is likely to be even higher as the PCR testing service is overwhelmed and certain groups of people are being asked to use antigen tests only.

5. Logging positive antigen test in new portal of HSE will not qualify for recovery certificate

From tomorrow, a portal will open that will allow those who have a positive antigen test to log it with HSE and alert their close contacts.

However, Damien McCallion, the head of the vaccination program, said people would not be able to obtain a certificate of recovery through this method—this is purely for public health reasons.

He said people would either have to undergo a professional PCR test or antigen test to get the certificate.

“In any self-testing system you are dependent on the person providing the information,” said Mr. McCallion.

“It’s important to remember the purpose—the purpose is to give you public health advice to the person and to identify close contacts.

“So, it’s not for any other purpose.”

6. Over 700k people who are eligible to get a booster haven’t opted for one yet

HSE bosses are encouraging those who have not yet received a booster vaccine, saying that there are about 715,000 people who are eligible to be boosted but have not yet submitted for the jab.

7. 28 percent of long-term residential facilities are facing the outbreak of coronavirus

HSE’s chief operating officer, Anne O’Connor, said there has been a significant increase in the outbreak in long-term residential facilities.

“We currently have 506 outbreaks in residential care and hospitals,” she said.

“We are seeing a significant increase in outbreaks, we are seeing 160 outbreaks in our older person services, 28pc have outbreaks now which is a very high number.”

Visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard for updates on the roll out of the immunization program and the rate of coronavirus cases in Ireland