More than 120 healthcare workers diagnosed with Covid-19 in past week

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation say the rate of infection among healthcare workers could be even higher

 The rate of infection among healthcare workers could be  higher than recorded because asymptomatic cases are not being picked up, say the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

The rate of infection among healthcare workers could be higher than recorded because asymptomatic cases are not being picked up, say the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

 

More than 120 healthcare workers were diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past week as transmission levels increase across the country, new figures show.

The increase of 121 healthcare cases reported by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) comes as Beaumont Hospital in Dublin was forced to close wards after a small number of patients and staff tested positive for the virus.

An additional 30 patients were hospitalised with Covid-19 over the past week, according to the HPSC data, while two more patients were admitted to ICU.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) claimed the rate of infection among healthcare workers could be even higher because asymptomatic cases are not being picked up.

“When a positive case is identified in an acute hospital, all staff are not tested. We do not believe testing suspected close contacts goes far enough considering the normal movements of staff throughout a hospital in any one day,” said INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.

She said derogated authority had been provided to health service managers to allow departure from the two-week 14-day isolation for healthcare workers returning from countries listed as requiring 14 days self-isolation.

“We do not believe this is safe and providing temperature testing is not sufficient considering what we know about asymptomatic positives.”

The number of cases among older people is also increasing, with 21 more people aged over 65 diagnosed with the virus during the week. There was an increase of seven cases in the 65-74 age range, giving a cumulative total of 594. There was also a jump of seven cases in both the 75-84 age group, to 753, and among those over 85, to 476.

Dublin

A further 138 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Sunday evening. This brings the total number of cases in the Republic to 29,672.

No new deaths were reported, leaving the total death toll at 1,777.

Some 68 of the new cases reported were in Dublin, 13 were in Limerick, and nine apiece in Galway and Kildare. There were also five cases in Wexford and Wicklow, while the remaining 24 cases were split between 14 other counties.

Of Sunday’s cases, 59 are men, and 79 are women. Two-thirds are aged under 45 years.

Only 39 per cent are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case. Twenty-three of the 138 cases involved community transmission, meaning the source of the infection is not clear.

The 14-day incidence of Covid-19 in Ireland has increased to 33.2 per 100,000 population, the 11th highest out of 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control.

Spain has the highest 14-day incidence of the virus in Europe, at 240.6, followed by France at 118.9.

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