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Image / Editorial

Private hospitals will be made public for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak


By Erin Lindsay
25th Mar 2020
Private hospitals will be made public for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak

The move by the government is an effort to get ahead of the potential strain the outbreak will have on the HSE


Along with a number of stricter measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus in Ireland, the government announced yesterday that private hospitals will act as part of the public health system for the duration of the pandemic.

Health Minister Simon Harris said that there is “no room for public versus private” at these times, and said the combination of resources was for “the common benefit of all of our people”.

The drafting of private facilities into the public system means that there will be an extra 2000 beds, nine laboratories and thousands of extra staff members on hand to aid the crisis.

According to Minister Harris, all testing and treatment for the virus will be free for everyone “as part of a single, national hospital service”.

As of yesterday evening, a further 204 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, and one further death, bringing the total numbers to 1,329 cases, and seven deaths.

Testing

The move comes as the Department of Health revealed its testing rates at a press conference yesterday. Head of the HSE’s Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group Cillian de Gascun confirmed that approximately 2050 tests are completed in Ireland each day – including  1,300 per day in the National Virus Reference Laboratory and about 750 tests in laboratories around the country.

De Gascun also confirmed that he expected that number to “ramp up considerably”, to complete 3000 tests per day by next week, and to continue increasing over the next four weeks, until there are 15,000 – 16,000 tests per day completed.

According to de Gascun, the average time between a test arriving to a lab and being completed currently stands at 26 hours.


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