The Minister for Health has admitted pressure on hospitals is likely to increase in the coming weeks.
A projected surge in respiratory illnesses will make overcrowding even worse in Irish hospitals, admitted Stephen Donnelly.
His warning comes after the HSE advised people to consider attending their GP or minor injury units before an emergency department.
Letterkenny University Hospital was facing serious delays in recent days having to cope with 50 Covid patinets on top of people presenting with respiratory illnesses and flu.
Minister Donnelly said: “The advice I have from the chief medical officer is the modelling is difficult in terms of being accurate.
“However, what I can tell you is the HSE’s view today, when I met them, was that this is likely to get worse, we are likely to see more pressure.
“They don’t believe that the flu wave has peaked.
“What we want to see happen obviously as quickly as possible is that the flu wave peaks and then recedes because what I’m hearing repeatedly from the nurses, from the consultants in the hospitals, is more and more patients are coming in with the flu, and particularly those who are older or those who have other underlying conditions, it is making them quite sick.”
He added: “What I’m hearing here today, and then in Vincent’s today, is that the flu wave is very severe, it’s hit earlier than it normally would.
“And so we have this perfect storm of RSV, flu, Covid obviously, as well as all of the normal pressures, that really that has absorbed the significant additional capacity that has been put into the system.”