Rising NI Covid cases will lead to increased hospital pressures, warns adviser
Northern Ireland’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Ian Young, has warned that an increase in Covid numbers will lead to increased pressures on hospitals.
There were 375 confirmed new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total in the region since February.
Much of the increase is attributed to the spread of the Delta variant, which first originated in India, and which has increased rates of transmissibility.
Professor Young urged young people to come forward to get the Covid vaccine, stating this was “our pathway out of this epidemic”.
He told the BBC: “People who have been vaccinated are unlikely to require hospital admission even if infected again, although unfortunately once we get a very large number of cases we are definitely going to see increased hospital pressures.
“At the moment, just over half of our 18-30s and about two thirds of our 30-40s have had a first dose of the vaccine.
“We need around 90% of those age groups to get the first dose of their vaccine before the end of July, that is the sort of race that we are in.
“Doing that, and then going on to getting the second dose after an appropriate period represents our pathway out of this epidemic.”
Wednesday’s total of 375 new cases in Northern Ireland is approximately double the daily total which was reported a week ago.
No further deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, 20 patients are in hospital and two are in intensive care.
A total of 2,027,724 vaccines have been administered so far.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health revealed modelling which suggested Northern Ireland could be recording more than 1,000 Covid-19 cases a day by the end of the summer.
The 1,000 to 1,200 daily case number at the end of August is the department’s central projection of the virus’ trajectory over the coming months.
That number of cases would translate to between 200 to 300 hospital inpatients with Covid-19 by mid-September.
The department’s modelling is based on three assumptions: the Delta variant becoming dominant in the region; 85% of the adult population having received two doses of vaccine; and the public continuing to adhere to social distancing and hygiene guidance.
This week, the Public Health Agency warned that social events in North Down and East Belfast have resulted in a “sharp increase” in Covid-19 cases.
It described the surge in infections as emanating from a number of events in those areas attended by young people last week.
The PHA also warned that more cases are “likely to follow in the next few weeks” in South Belfast, Hillsborough, Comber, Bangor and the Ards Peninsula through previous and new social links.
The PHA has carried out enhanced testing in several areas across Northern Ireland after a rise in the number of suspected cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus were identified.
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