Paul Reid, CEO of HSE, is “concerned” about the upcoming winter...

Paul Reid, CEO of HSE, is “concerned” about the upcoming winter...
Paul Reid, CEO of HSE, is “concerned” about the upcoming winter...
Paul Reid, CEO of HSE, said he was “concerned” about the coming winter as four higher risk nursing homes receive additional care and another 21 are closely monitored.

Reid said he was concerned that Ireland might follow the trend in other parts of Europe, where the second wave hits young people first but then passes it on to older people who are more vulnerable.

Yesterday, 330 people with Covid-19 were in hospitals, 43 of them in intensive care.

The CEO emphasized that there has been a positive trend in cases and hospital stays due to the Level 5 restrictions. However, if the measures were not followed, we could see a “multi-lag effect” similar to that in other European countries.

“What we are looking for is a multi-lag effect, that is, increased cases in younger people and then increasing cases in the 65+ age group, who are more susceptible. That would mean more hospital stays and possibly more people in intensive care, ”he told RTÉ Radio One Tomorrow Ireland.

“It’s hard to predict, but we have to be careful what exactly is happening in Europe. You see an increase in cases and then more hospitalizations with higher infection rates in the elderly.

“If we maintain the progress we have made over the past week and manage to maintain and reverse the trend over the coming weeks, which offers us significant protection over the winter.”

He added that Nphet’s modeling suggests hospitals would have been at risk in late November had the country not been subjected to stricter restrictions.

With nursing homes being a high risk, Reid said the HSE had taken additional precautions, with four homes in particular being carefully monitored.

“There are 20-25 (nursing homes) that we have given a range of grants and there are four who would be at higher risk right now in relation to a wider range of grants we would give,” he said.

“This would range from infection control measures to ensuring adequate support from a multidisciplinary team to the organization of care by a family doctor. In very few cases, we may need to hire staff directly or assist with further staffing.

“Fortunately, the nursing homes we have worked with have stabilized over the past week and days, and we want to continue to do so.”

As schools prepare to welcome students back after half-time, Mr Reid has stressed that the country must do everything possible to ensure that they stay open.

“The priority for all of us at HSE is to keep our schools open. The risk of not having children in school is significant, ”he said.

However, teachers unions say they feel unsafe on their return to work as the Department of Education yesterday advised school principals to remove 52 disinfectant products from use that are on an official school shopping list.

They also raised questions about social distancing measures and waiting time for tests for staff and students.

ASTI calls for rapid antigen tests to be carried out in schools. However, Mr Reid said it will be a while before this can happen.

He added that he cannot guarantee that rapid tests will be made available to the education sector by the end of this semester.

With rapid antigen tests, patients would get their results in minutes. However, there is no estimate when this will be available in Ireland.

Just a few days ago it was announced that a new 12-minute test for Covid-19 called LumriaDx was being tested in pharmacies in the UK. Boots says it plans to roll out in select stores.

Speaking to Newstalk, Trinity College Dublin immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill said rapid tests have to fill the gap before a vaccine.

“Boots roll out a test: it’ll take 12 minutes, it’s 120 pounds and it’s 97% accurate,” he said.

“If that works, anyone can go to their pharmacy and buy these tests.

“Whether or not they should be made free – governments really should make this free for everyone.

“I have no doubt that in fast forward we have to run comprehensive tests that are suitable for everyone – that is definitely our way out.”

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