Cabinet COVID Committee to Discuss Spike in Cases This Evening

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The Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 is set to hold a meeting this evening to discuss how to respond to the surge of infections across the country.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was "extremely concerned" with the situation and that "nothing can be ruled out" in terms of the government's response.

Ahead of a full cabinet meeting tomorrow, the committee will convene this evening to discuss what action to take to reverse the current worrying trend.

Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid has spoken of an "extreme level of sickness" in the nation's Intensive Care Units.

The committee is expected to discuss such issues as encouraging people to work from home, expanding the vaccine booster campaign and increasing antigen testing.

The meeting comes as Dublin's Mater hospital has announced it has reached ICU surge capacity and is now ventilating patients outside of ICU.

Mater consultant Dr Colman O'Loughlin said this is the first time the hospital has had to take such measures since the pandemic's third wave. He stressed that it is next to impossible to run a regular health system when so many acute beds are occupied by COVID patients.

O'Loughlin said the government's refusal to reintroduce lockdowns has left hospitals in the dark as to when the situation can be expected to improve.

"Without that it's not clear to us working on the frontline what the trigger event will be to turn things around to stop this 3/4000 cases per day ....they're the ICU patients of two weeks time, some of those patients," he said.

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