HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has warned that there could be 7,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported per day over the next week.

His comments come in the wake of a large spike of cases across the island with a further 4962 cases and 7 deaths confirmed yesterday. The massive spike in cases is partially down to a backlog in confirmed cases being reported.

However, there has also been a significant rise in Covid-19 patients within Irish hospitals (730+ patients currently) and in ICU’s (65 people as of last night).

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast Paul Reid, the Chief Executive of the HSE said the current scale of the virus in Ireland is “frightening” and has required the HSE to cut back on non-urgent care in hospitals such is the pressure the spread of Covid-19 is putting on hospitals.

He said the hospitals are coping with the current surge in cases but the situation is deteriorating if the numbers continue to rise at the current rate.

“The trajectory we’re looking at would tell us within January we could be rising to 1,500-2,000 hospitalised cases, and a rise in ICU from anywhere from around 250 to 430. That’s how serious it is.”

He also mentioned discussions were ongoing with private hospitals to use their facilities if required.

The testing and tracing system has received some scrutiny over the past week after NPHET confirmed close contacts would no longer be tested if they were not showing any symptoms.

Mr.Reid said the testing capacity is now over 20,000 a day and that eventually “any system gets overwhelmed”. Using an example of one day last week, if all close contacts were tested it would exceed 50,000 people.

Mr.Reid also confirmed that some 3,000 healthcare staff are currently off of work due to being close contacts of a positive case of the virus or actually having the virus itself.

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