COVID Hospital Numbers Drop to Lowest Level This Year

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The number of Irish hospital patients with COVID has fallen to a 2022 low.

As of 8am on Thursday morning there were 610 patients in hospitals with the virus, down 20 from Wednesday.

This is down from 708 last Thursday and 896 two weeks ago.

Today's figure is the lowest reported since December 29th, 2021, when 568 people were in hospital with COVID.

It represents a drop of 43% from the 2022 peak of 1,063 patients on January 10th.

The latest figures show 65 people are being treated in ICU with the virus, the lowest ICU level since October 5th, 2021.

Professor Martin Cormican, HSE Clinical Lead on Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, has suggested that testing for COVID could be rolled back "sooner rather than later."

"I would certainly be optimistic that we would be there by the end of this year, but again, you know the road ahead is uncertain," he said. "Obviously we are conscious that there is a risk that you could have another variant that makes trouble for us. We all hope that it won't happen. We have to take it one step at a time."

"I think we've already started to see a change in the approach to testing, of course, and that many people are now self-testing rather than going for the laboratory testing so that transition in terms of a change of approach to testing has already started," he added. "In some ways, I expect that we will be making further steps along that way sooner rather than later."

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