More than 25% of Donnybrook hospital residents test Covid-positive

Sunbeam House in Wicklow confirms three residents have died during recent outbreaks

Three people have died during an outbreak at the hospital which provides step-down rehabilitation care  and has a number of nursing home wards.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Three people have died during an outbreak at the hospital which provides step-down rehabilitation care and has a number of nursing home wards. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

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More than a quarter of patients and residents at the Royal Hospital Donnybrook have tested positive for Covid-19 and three people have died during an outbreak at the Dublin facility.

The hospital provides step-down rehabilitation care for patients following treatment at St Vincent’s Hospital and has a number of nursing home wards.

Twenty-three of the 81 residents and patients tested positive for Covid-19 following an outbreak at the start of this month. Three residents have died to date during the outbreak.

A hospital spokeswoman said “while the situation is of concern and can change rapidly, most positive patients are currently relatively well”.

“All patients are under the constant medical supervision of our own team of doctors,” she said.

It is understood that close to 50 of the facility’s 300 or so staff were on leave last week after testing positive or self-isolating as close contacts.

“At present, 38 hospital staff have been impacted either by a positive test or by being a close contact. As a result, staffing is therefore under pressure, but to date sufficient ward personnel have been available,” the spokeswoman said.

“Unfortunately, there have been three recent Covid-related deaths and we extend our sympathy to their families and friends. Family members of patients were able to have visits on compassionate grounds.

“The hospital has put strict restrictions in place to try to prevent further spread and public health is overseeing progress.”

The first of two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered to staff and residents who had not tested positive on January 13th and 14th.

It is understood that a number of patients who had been transferred to the facility from St Vincent’s Hospital for rehabilitation care later tested positive for Covid-19. The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) late last year told the HSE that nursing homes had reported residents were testing positive after returning from acute hospitals, despite initial negative tests prior to their transfer. The high rate of the disease among the wider community, and family visits before Christmas, are regarded as other possible causes of the outbreak.

Sunbeam residential centres

Meanwhile, three people with intellectual disabilities have died following recent outbreaks of Covid-19 at two residential centres run by a Co Wicklow charity. Sunbeam House Services confirmed the outbreaks and said 10 of the 12 residents tested positive in one centre.

Sunbeam House chief executive Joe Lynch said “despite the ongoing efforts of our staff, we recently had outbreaks of Covid-19 in two of our residential centres”.

Mr Lynch said it was “with immense regret that we confirm that three of our residents have passed away”.

“We are deeply saddened that we have lost wonderful people to the virus after almost a year of being virus free. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the families who have lost their loved ones,” he said in a statement.

At present, 30 staff members across the organisation are on sick leave after testing positive for Covid-19, or self-isolating as close contacts.

“The families of all those in this centre are being kept updated on an ongoing basis as we now deal with this challenging situation.”

While all public health guidelines had been followed, the organisation had faced “increasing challenges as the levels of the virus increased in the wider community” in recent weeks, he said.

Mary Bohan, a member of the Sunbeam House Services Family Advocacy Group, said families of residents were “deeply saddened” following the recent deaths.

Deaths in the small community residential centres were “traumatic” for all involved, she said.

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