WITH visiting restrictions reimposed at Limerick University Hospital on Sunday due to very high levels of Covid-positive patients, there is an air of uncertainty about the future effects of the pandemic on hospital services.
Critical care consultant at Limerick Hospital, Dr Catherine Motherway says the impact of the current Covid outbreaks in hospitals is significant.
Admissions of Covid-19 patients to the intensive care unit there have stagnated, “but there are still a lot of Covid around”.
“We are still not operating on people with Covid entering hospital,” she added.
This has a ripple effect on operating schedules.
Staff wear full PPE when dealing with Covid patients and huge resources are devoted to isolating them.
Masks will continue to be mandatory in hospitals, and Dr Motherway believes the virus will join the list of respiratory illnesses people will get used to.
There’s still a sense that the worst of the pandemic is over, she said, adding, “But there’s also a sense that we’ll see problems every winter.
“We have a lot of immunity now, but we don’t know how long that immunity will last. But there is no doubt that innate immunity as well as vaccination provides very, very good protection.”