Covid-19 outbreak claims 15 lives at south Dublin nursing home
Simpson’s Hospital in Dundrum has suffered one of the worst outbreaks of the third wave
A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. Photograph: EPA/Zoltan Balogh
A south Dublin nursing home – Simpson’s Hospital in Dundrum – has recorded 15 deaths from Covid-19 in an outbreak of the disease that struck the care facility last month.
The deaths at the nursing home on Ballinteer Road, which is run by one of Ireland’s oldest charities, amount to almost a third of the care facility’s 48-bed occupancy.
It is one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks to affect a nursing home in the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has led to record numbers of infections, hospitalisations and ICU admissions.
More than 100 nursing homes out of 582 across the State are dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks.
Simpson’s Hospital would not disclose the number of positive cases in the home but it is understood to be a severe outbreak that affected large numbers of staff and residents.
Many of the deaths at the nursing home took place over the Christmas and New Year period.
“I can unfortunately confirm that we had an outbreak of Covid-19 in December. We have sadly had 15 deaths since our first confirmed case,” said Sudha Baby Isaac, director of nursing.
“We are especially so distressed to have worked so hard at keeping the virus out of the hospital since March to suffer an outbreak in December so close to the roll-out of vaccines.”
The nursing home had received “excellent support” from the HSE she said.
“Our staff have worked incredibly hard and made many sacrifices to care for our wonderful residents during this period and we have not been short-staffed at any time,” she said.
The HSE’s schedule shows that the nursing home is to receive the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the end of January. The home said the outbreak was now under control.
Elsewhere, another privately-owned nursing home, Dealgan House Nursing Home in Dundalk, Co Louth, which suffered one of the worst outbreaks of the first wave with the deaths of 23 residents, has just had another outbreak declared at the care facility.
A spokesman for Dealgan House said a number of staff had tested positive for Covid-19 in the fortnightly serial testing programme of nursing home staff but that no residents were infected.
He said “the good news” was that Covid-19 vaccines were being administered on Tuesday. Anyone infected with Covid-19 or recovering from the virus cannot have a vaccine for four weeks.
“No residents are affected and any staff who are eligible will be vaccinated along with the residents,” he said.
Nursing homes have called for an accelerated delivery of the vaccine programme in nursing homes given the risk to residents from a high level of infection in the community.
One healthcare worker on a Covid-19 vaccination team contacted The Irish Times to say that she and colleagues have only been administering vaccines at nursing homes until lunchtime some days.
“Today we finished at 1.30pm. We could be moving on to the next day’s location. There is a team of vaccinators, the doctor and an ambulance and crew, and we just finished half way through the day. It doesn’t seem fair or appropriate,” the worker said.
The Government plans to have all 75,000 staff and nursing home residents vaccinated with the first dose of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by January 24th.