DUBLIN, Ireland: The shortage of available hospital beds throughout Ireland has greatly eased as Covid admissions have fallen by two-thirds since December.
As of January 22, according to officials, there were 237 patients in hospital with Covid-19.
This would be the lowest figure since last September, and only one-third of the numbers of Covid patients in hospitals in late December.
Significantly, only 21 of these patients were in intensive care, which is the lowest number in a month.
Officials point to the overall drop in new Covid cases, as the seven-day positivity rate for PCR test has fallen to 10.2 per cent, which the is the lowest rate recorded since October 2021.
Besides a drop in Covid, the number of flu and respiratory patients has also fallen, according to hospitals.
As of January 22, there were 237 patients waiting for beds in the nation's hospitals, according to the Health Service Executive's TrolleyGar count, compared to 389 one week earlier. This is also an 80 percent reduction in patients waiting for beds from one year earlier.
Letterkenny University Hospital reported the worst overcrowding, with 31 patients awaiting beds. Of note, there were no patients waiting for admission in University Hospital Waterford; Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda; Connolly Hospital; Tullamore hospital; and Our Lady's Hospital, Navan.
However, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service reports having only three-day blood supplies.
"Hospitals have been experiencing extreme pressures recently and there has been a sustained high demand for blood," said Paul McKinney, director of donor services and logistics. "The recent high level of respiratory illness in the community has also impacted the collection of blood and as a result we are running critically low across all blood groups."
In other medical news, Covid testing kits are to remain tax-free, following a decision by Minister for Finance Michael McGrath.