The UL Hospitals Group has announced a visiting ban at six hospitals in counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary as a precaution to minimise the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The visitor ban covers University Hospital Limerick, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, St John's Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital in Co Limerick; Nenagh Hospital in Co Tipperary and Ennis Hospital in Co Clare.
The ban, described as part of “extraordinary measures” was decided by the group “in the interests of patient safety.”
The announcement came as four patients; two males, and two females, were being treated for the virus at University Hospital Limerick.
The four patients tested positive for the virus on Wednesday and are being treated in separate isolation rooms.
Two additional confirmed cases; two females, have been confirmed in the region, after having close contact with one one the four cases.
A spokesman for the UL Hospitals Group said it regrets any distress or inconvenience the extraordinary measures will cause to patients and their loved ones.
“These measures are being taken in order to minimise any spread of infection within our hospital sites. These measures are in place until further notice and are being reviewed on a daily basis.”
Exceptions to the ban include:
parents visiting children in hospital
partners of women attending University Maternity Hospital Limerick
people visiting patients at end-of-life
people assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)
people visiting patients in Critical Care
“The above exemptions are limited to one person per patient only.”
The spokesman said the ban also applies to patients attending the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick and the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s.
“We are appealing to members of the public to co-operate with these necessary restrictions.”
“We are also urging the public to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies only; a place where priority is given to the seriously injured and ill and those whose lives may be at risk.
“Anyone else should first consider all the care options available to them in them in their own communities, their family doctors, out-of-hours GP services, or ask their local pharmacies for advice.”
Local Injury Units (LIUs) at Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals ( which operate from 8am-8pm daily), and St John’s Hospital (8am-6pm, Monday to Friday) “are an excellent option for treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns, without the lengthy wait that can be expected in the ED during busy periods,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, strict visitor restrictions have been introduced with immediate effect across the South/South West Hospital Group due to infection control concerns.
The hospitals where these restrictions have been implemented include Cork University and Maternity Hospitals, the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital and the Mercy University Hospital in Cork city, University Hospital Kerry, University Hospital Waterford, Bantry General Hospital and Mallow General Hospital.
The measure is in the interest of patient care and in order to prevent the spread of infection.
Anyone with any queries about visiting times or visiting a particular hospital should ring the respective hospital directly.
Management at the South/South West Hospital Group have requested that where appropriate the public contact their GP/Out of Hours service in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to presenting to Emergency Departments if their needs are not urgent.