June 18, 2021

FLU OUTBREAK: People urged to stay away from hospitals as death toll rises

Wicklow people suffering with flu symptoms are being urged to stay away from GPs and hospitals after it emerged 18 people have died from the virus so far this year.

Ireland’s flu season has struck well ahead of its expected arrival in 2019, and this has led to a surge in the country’s trolley figures this month, which is heaping massive pressure on hospitals locally and nationally.

Health officials today confirmed the number of people on trolleys in emergency departments for the year to date now stands at 113,059, 13,513 (13.6%) more than last the figures for 2018.

The increase is predominantly due to the early onset of influenza-like illnesses, which hit Ireland four weeks ahead of schedule.

Speaking at the HSE’s winter briefing in Dublin today, Health Minister Simon Harris roughly half of those people presenting at emergency departments across the country have done so as a result of the flu.

Overall the numbers of people on trolleys in emergency departments over the past week is up 641 compared to the the same week in 2018 — a massive jump of 118%.

Minister Harris said there is “no doubt that this is going to put significant pressure on our health service”.

The briefing heard that 18 people have died from the flu virus to date this year, which is rougly the same as previous years.

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