HSE chief executive Paul Reid has warned of a "very challenging" winter for Ireland's health service.
Reid confirmed a rise in the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19, with 393 patients, of which 74 are in the ICU. 67% of ICU patients are unvaccinated while 3% are partially vaccinated. 58% are aged over 50 while 40% are aged between 15 and 49. Reid said this highlights the risk posed to those who are unvaccinated.
He also noted how the daily average of cases has risen in the past four days from 1,500 to 2,000.
"It’s going to be a very difficult winter," Reid said. "Our staff are exhausted."
The HSE has introduced several initiatives to prepare for the coming winter. 1,000 bed days per week have been procured with private hospitals for non-Covid patients. Extra capacity has been created for operating theatres, clinics and the National Treatment Purchase Fund. There will be a greater focus placed on treating people at home.
Reid urged those who have yet to receive the vaccine to do so.
"No one will be left behind," he said.
Reid said that while COVID numbers remain steady he would like to see them come down. He highlighted how the virus continues to have a "disproportionate" effect on the health service.