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18th Oct 2021

HSE chief Paul Reid says it’s “time to hit the reset button” as hospitals battle Covid surge

paul reid

His comments come as Cabinet prepare to make a final decision on reopening the country this week.

The chief executive officer of the Health Service Executive (HSE) Paul Reid has said it is “time for us all to hit the reset button” as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 surges.

Mr. Reid said that, as of Monday, there are 482 people in hospital with Covid and 74 people in intensive care units. He is urging people who are not yet vaccinated to register.

“If unvaccinated, you’re at higher risk, resulting in a disproportionate impact,” he said.  “Do the right thing. For the rest of us, time to do the basics well again.”

Mr Reid’s comments come as public health experts are set to meet on Monday to discuss the planned easing of restrictions on Friday 22 October.

Almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions are due to be lifted but a recent surge in cases and hospitalisations has cast doubt on the plan.

The final decision, which will be made by the Cabinet on Tuesday, will be based on the recommendations made by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

From April to October, 70% of patients admitted to ICU with Covid were not fully vaccinated. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there has been an increase of vaccine take-up in recent days.

“Really great to hear of a substantial increase at walk-in vaccine centres at the weekend, while 3,000+ registered for the first time last week,” he said.

He also said booster vaccines were continuing for those aged 65 and over in long-term residential care, and those aged over 80 years in the community.

While it remains unclear if restrictions will be fully lifted on Friday, Taoiseach Michael Martin has assured the public that the country will not be moving backwards. Speaking to The Sunday Independent, he said:

“We do not want to go back, and we are not contemplating going backwards.

“The only issue facing us now is going forward and that is a decision we will make on the advice we receive from NPHET.”