Wave after wave: an analysis of ICU admittance during COVID-19


The concern coronavirus has created in Ireland was to make sure hospitals weren’t overloaded and to make sure that ICU beds were never full. Christopher O’Flaherty from THECITY.IE has requested information from St Vincents Hospital for the number of personnel admitted into ICU beds during each wave of the pandemic. The stats are provided by the HSE ICU report.

COVID-19 Frontline health workers. Photo Credit: UN Women Asia and the Pacific

Wave 1 took place between the following dates: 16.02.2020 – 01.08.2020

Wave 1 consisted of 436 cases ages 15 and up admitted to ICU with confirmed COVID-19. 69% of cases were male. 80% of all cases during wave 1 had underlying medical conditions and 57% of the underlying health conditions were found to be Chronic heart disease, and hypertension at 37%. 21% of all ICU with COVID died during wave 1.

Wave 1 being the first meant that hospitals were experiencing something they would never dream of. 

An impossible task.

So, the numbers do reflect the situation and is not surprising.

Wave 2 takes place between the following dates: 02.08.2020 – 21.11.2020

Wave 2 was by far the least stressful time for hospitals so far. 

In the three months of wave 2, there were 170 people admitted into ICU. 

69% of cases were male. 92% of cases were people with underlying health conditions. Hypertension at 52%, chronic heart disease at 46%, chronic respiratory disease at 40%. Finally, diabetes mellitus 36%. 35% of all ICU patients with COVID died during wave 2.

Wave 2, although the least intense and least stressful time for hospitals so far. However, the percentage of deaths is extraordinarily high during wave 2.

Wave 3 takes place between the following dates: 22.11.2020 – 26.06.2021

Throughout wave 3  the worst wave of COVID Ireland was seen.. 972 people with confirmed COVID-19 cases were admitted into ICU beds across the country. The highest amount we have ever seen. 61% of case were male. 90% of cases were people with underlying health conditions. The most commonly reported underlying medical conditions were: hypertension at 50%; chronic heart disease 36%; chronic respiratory disease 33%; and diabetes mellitus 27%. 39% of the admitted into ICU unfortunately died.

Wave 3 lasted all of spring and summer. This is also around the time the Delta virus started infecting Ireland.

Wave 4 is the current and most recent wave. The data given is for the duration of: 27.06.2021 – 13.11.2021.

The amount of people who have been admitted into a hospital during these dates is 476 patients. A massive decrease since wave 3. 

81% of people who were in ICU had an underlying health condition. 64% have acute respiratory distress syndrome. 

Wave 4 is still on going and with the recent Omicron variant infecting the people of Ireland. It is imperative to make sure ICU does not get overwhelmed, so we do not have a repeat of wave 3.

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