WITH visiting restrictions reimposed at University Hospital Limerick on Sunday because of very high levels of Covid positive patients, there is an air of uncertainty about the future effects of the pandemic on hospital services.
Intensive care consultant at the Limerick hospital, Dr Catherine Motherway says that the impact of the current outbreaks of Covid in hospitals is significant.
Admissions of Covid-19 patients to the Intensive Care Unit have stalled there, “but there is still a lot of Covid about”.
“We still don’t operate on people with Covid coming into hospital,” she added.
This has a knock-on effect on operating schedules.
Staff wear full PPE when treating patients with Covid and huge resources go into isolating them.
Masks will continue to be mandatory in hospitals, and Dr Motherway believes the virus will join the list of as a respiratory illness that people will get used to.
There is still a sense that the worst of the pandemic is over, she said, adding: “But there is also a sense that we will 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 gives really, really good protection”.