Four retired members of the Augustinian religious order have died and six others were infected in a Covid-19 outbreak at a Co Wicklow retirement home run on behalf of the order.
Three priests died over a period of just four days at the care facility in Bray, Co Wicklow last month, while a fourth member of the order, an Augustinian brother, died in a Dublin hospital.
All four deaths occurred over an eight-day period.
The Augustinians took possession of Bray Manor, a facility in the Co Wicklow town, in September as retirement accommodation for a group of retired members, and a private company was engaged to manage the facility under the supervision of the order.
The order has been working with the HSE recently in dealing with the threat from Covid-19 and, prior to the outbreak, the facility accommodated 14 retired members.
“Regrettably, 10 of our members tested positive for the virus and sadly four of our elderly members have died,” the order said in a statement.
“The respective families have been informed of these deaths and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this most difficult time.”
One member who was hospitalised has returned to the Bray home. The facility is “now operationally free of the virus”, the Augustinians said, but it must await a further week to have this fully certified. Covid-19 outbreaks are officially closed after 28 days without a new case.
The statement said the public health services had been “very supportive throughout this very difficult time”.
“The families of all those in this facility are being kept updated on an ongoing basis as we now deal with this challenging situation. We also continue to deal with the HSE as we care for those who have been ill and all other residents,” the statement said.
“We want to thank the staff at the facility for their efforts in a very challenging situation. We can confirm that all relevant guidelines were followed throughout.”
The Augustinians first arrived in Ireland in the 13th century and established a friary at Abbeyside, Dungarvan in 1282. They set up schools in Dungarvan and New Ross in the 1830s and have three parishes under their care in the archdiocese of Dublin.
The order is not the only religious order affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
During the first wave of the virus, there were a number of deaths related to Covid-19 at the Jesuit retirement home in Milltown, Dublin and among retired members of the Spiritan (Holy Ghost) order at a nursing home run by the Sisters of Nazareth on the Malahide Road in Dublin.