Over 100 nursing homes saw Covid outbreaks in both first and third waves

Figures show 11 nursing homes were hit with several outbreaks during a single wave

More than 100 nursing homes saw outbreaks of Covid-19 in the first wave of the pandemic and then again in the third wave, according to Health Protection Surveillance Centre figures.

In total, 412 different nursing homes or community long-stay units recorded outbreaks of the virus, with nearly half of that figure experiencing more than one outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

Eleven nursing homes were hit with several outbreaks within a single wave, according to the figures provided to The Irish Times.

There were 2,349 deaths among nursing home residents with Covid-19 between March 2020 and May 2021. In almost 80 per cent of those cases, the residents who contracted the virus died in the nursing home.


In 439 cases, or 19 per cent of the total, residents’ deaths occurred in hospital, while a very small number died in a hospice or in their own home.

There were more than 16,200 confirmed Covid-19 cases among nursing home residents in the first 15 months of the pandemic.

Some 40 per cent of the cases occurred in the first wave, with less than 10 per cent recorded during the second wave, between last August and November. More than half of the cases among nursing home residents were in the third wave, which peaked last January, and the weeks afterwards.

Significant outbreaks

Nursing home residents were one of the most vulnerable groups, with several facilities dealing with severe outbreaks where large numbers of residents died.

Residents and staff were among the first group to begin receiving the Covid-19 vaccines, when supplies started arriving at the start of the year.

Some nursing homes saw significant outbreaks in between residents receiving their first and second vaccine doses.

In other cases, planned vaccinations at facilities were delayed by several weeks, due to outbreaks in the care homes.

The HSE area covering west Dublin, Dublin south city and Kildare, had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents during the pandemic, the figures show.

Community Healthcare Organisation 7 (CHO7), which covers Dublin west, south city and southwest, as well as Kildare, and west Wicklow, recorded 451 nursing home deaths from the virus.

Some 401 of the deaths were confirmed as Covid-19 related, while a further 46 were deemed possible Covid-19 deaths, and four recorded as probably linked to infections. The area reported 2,391 cases of residents contracting the virus up to May 2021.

The second highest number of Covid-19 deaths occurred in CHO9, which covers north Dublin, where there were 353 fatalities and more than 2,200 cases of the virus among nursing home residents.

CHO8, which includes Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Louth and Meath, had the third highest number of nursing home deaths linked to the virus. There were 292 deaths related to the virus in the area during the pandemic.

CHO6, which covers Dublin southeast, Dún Laoghaire, and Wicklow, had the fourth highest number, with 269 deaths.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent