South Dublin hospital reports Covid-19 outbreak as more than 20 patients test positive

Significant outbreak traced to patient on a ward who was initially asymptomatic

A file photograph of St Columcille’s, Loughlinstown, in south Co Dublin.

A file photograph of St Columcille’s, Loughlinstown, in south Co Dublin.


A south Dublin hospital is dealing with a significant outbreak of coronavirus after 22 patients tested positive, with a number of staff also self-isolating awaiting test results.

St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, confirmed to The Irish Times that a number of patients had contracted Covid-19 following an outbreak within the facility.

The outbreak has been traced to a patient on a ward who was initially asymptomatic, later developed symptoms and then tested positive for Covid-19.

St Columcille’s Hospital is an acute hospital with over 100 beds serving south east Dublin and east Wicklow.

“There are currently 22 patients with Covid-19 which stemmed from an outbreak within the hospital,” a spokeswoman for the Ireland East Hospital Group said.

“A patient who was asymptomatic on a ward in the hospital developed symptoms and was subsequently tested for Covid-19,” she said.

“The surveillance process was immediately implemented by the infection control and microbiology teams and all patients and staff deemed as close contacts were subsequently tested,” the spokeswoman said.

“A number of staff who have had close contact with the patients have been swabbed for Covid and are currently self-isolating as outlined by the Covid-19 safety and contact tracing protocols,” the statement said.

It is understood some staff in the hospital had expressed concerns over the initial management of the outbreak, and the potential transmission between different wards.

The hospital’s injury unit, medical assessment unit, and outpatient services remain open and have not been affected by the outbreak, the spokeswoman said.

“The Hospital Covid Outbreak Committee, which is led and informed by our consultant microbiologist, the hospitals infection prevention and control team, hospital consultants, HSE occupational health and HSE public health department have met on a daily basis since the outbreak and progress has been made to stabilise the situation,” the spokesman said.

Speaking on Thursday at a Health Service Executive (HSE) briefing, Professor Martin Cormican, national lead for healthcare associated infection and antimicrobial resistance, said the number of patients acquiring Covid-19 in hospitals had increased in recent weeks.

There were 38 cases where patients acquired Covid-19 while in hospital the week ending November 1st, and this had increased to 100 patients in the week ending November 8th.

Speaking at the briefing, Prof Cormican said preventing the spread of infection in hospitals “is always hard,” because the nature of the setting required “intense person-to-person interaction”.

“When a hospital has an outbreak you can get a large number of cases in a very short space of time. We know that Letterkenny, Limerick and Naas have been struggling with large outbreaks and so the numbers came up quite quickly,” he said.

Earlier this month multiple outbreaks of Covid-19 at University Hospital Limerick and at Ennis Hospital, in Co Clare, resulted in the cancellations of all routine outpatient appointments, and the majority of elective procedures.

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