Drop in numbers of people with respiratory infections

The HSE has today (Thursday, 19th January 2023) published the latest Winter Infections Epidemiology Report. The attached report details the levels of respiratory infections circulating in the community and the number of people hospitalised with viruses such as COVID-19, influenza and RSV.

During the second week of 2023, reported cases of these infections dropped significantly:

  • COVID-19: 47% drop in the number of cases
  • Influenza: 48% drop in the number of cases
  • RSV: 38% drop in the number of cases.

Please see report for full details and figures.

The number of people hospitalised with these respiratory viruses has also decreased significantly during week 2:

  • COVID-19: 47% drop in the number of hospitalisations,
  • Influenza: 49% drop in the number of hospitalisations,
  • RSV: 26% drop in the number of hospitalisations.

Please see report below for full details and figures.

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE, said: “The latest data would suggest that the flu season has peaked, and that the pressure from COVID-19 and RSV continues to decline. However, even if this pattern continues, we expect ongoing pressure on the healthcare system from these viruses. I would like to acknowledge the work of the healthcare teams across the country in both hospitals and the community during these past number of weeks.

“We urge ongoing compliance to public health advice, including vaccination against influenza and COVID-19 for eligible groups, as well as the importance of staying at home for people with respiratory symptoms until after they have resolved”.

Stephen Mulvany, Interim CEO of the HSE, also notes the improvements for patients attending Emergency Departments:

“Thanks to the significant efforts of our teams on the ground and the wider system including GPs, supported by the measures we have taken, there has been a significant improvement in the Emergency Department situation, with a decrease in the numbers of patients on a trolley awaiting a hospital bed. If, as we hope, the flu season has peaked, it will still take some weeks before the pressure on hospitals eases.  We continue to work to drive these numbers down further, in a safe way.”

Protect Yourself. Protect Others.

It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated will offer you protection from serious illness. Find more information and book an appointment on HSE.ie.

Treatment for people at higher risk from COVID-19

You should contact a doctor urgently if you are at higher risk and you have COVID-19 symptoms or you have a positive COVID-19 PCR or antigen test.

Some people who are at higher risk from COVID-19 may be recommended for treatments. If your doctor decides that treatment is right for you, you’ll start treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for COVID-19 is free of charge through the HSE if it is recommended for you.

If COVID-19 treatment is not recommended for you, your doctor will provide you with the care that is right for your condition and symptoms.


Last updated on: 19 / 01 / 2023