Hospital overcrowding has surged on the first day of the new year due to a rise in flu and Covid-19 cases in Ireland, reported The Irish Times

Monaghan GP reported a significant increase in respiratory cases after Christmas, with a rise in flu, RSV among children, and ongoing cases of Covid-19, the report said.  

Some children with RSV required hospitalisation.  

While hospitals are preparing for increased patient attendances as the holiday season ends, the trolley numbers are currently about half of last year’s level, alleviating concerns of a repeat of the previous year’s overcrowding crisis.  

Health Service Executive (HSE), the publicly funded healthcare system in Ireland, reported high levels of respiratory illness, with emergency departments and GP out-of-hours services remaining busy.  

Health Service Executive said: “High levels of respiratory illness continue to circulate, and we are seeing increasing numbers of patients attending our EDs and subsequently being admitted due to respiratory symptoms.” 

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By GlobalData

The HSE expects 3,000 more cases of respiratory illness in the coming weeks, putting additional pressure on hospitals. 

On New Year’s Day, 229 patients were waiting for admission to a hospital bed, rose from 165 of the previous day. 

The HSE warned that flu and Covid-19 cases would continue to rise, though hospitalisations for Covid-19 were slightly over half of the levels seen a year ago.  

The number of Covid-19 hospitalisations has increased in the past month, along with a rise in the percentage of positive tests.  

Vaccine fatigue was noted as contributing to a decrease in the number of people receiving recent flu or Covid-19 shots. 

The World Health Organization expressed concern about the evolving nature of Covid-19, with new sublineages circulating, and emphasised that the virus remains a global health threat alongside other pathogens such as flu and RSV.  

The WHO urged continued vigilance, emphasising the severity of the situation despite a desire to move on from the pandemic.