Doctors sent to help at Cavan hospital after up to 70 staff infected with coronavirus

Latest figures put number of clusters or outbreaks in hospitals at 48

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has said doctors are being dispatched to work at Cavan General Hospital after it was reported that up to 70 doctors and nurses working there have become infected with Covid-19.

The initial report was published on the website of the local Anglo-Celt newspaper which said two wards were being closed and used to treat only Covid-19 positive cases.

The paper reported that in addition to the staff that have tested positive, “dozens more (are) said to be in isolation”.

Speaking on the Today with Sean O'Rourke show on RTÉ Radio One on Thursday, Dr Laura Durcan, vice president of the IHCA and a consultant rheumatologist at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital, said other doctors were volunteering to go and work in Cavan to address staffing issues there.

“What we have been doing from our group is sending staff to Cavan to make sure they can be safely staffed over the upcoming number of days. Some of our SHOs (senior house officer) and registrars have very heroically stepped up and will be heading up to Cavan I believe today”.

She said up to eight members of the medical team are being sent to the hospital. “As it stands we’re looking to cover the next 4-5 days … we’re hoping to get them back to us.”

In a statement, the RCSI Hospital Group, of which Cavan General Hospital is a member, said the hospital has plans in place to manage additional demands due to Covid-19.

“The hospital has areas designated for care of patients with Covid-19, patients who are awaiting diagnosis and patients who are not. There is capacity available for all of these patients,” the statement said.

It also said in January 2020, prior to Covid-19, the absenteeism rate at the hospital was 5.6 per cent and presently it is 12.2 per cent.

“The hospital continues to have a number of staff off at present,” it said.

Latest figures from the State’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre indicate the number of clusters/outbreaks of coronavirus in hospitals as of midnight on April 6th was 48. These included 30 in the east, two in the midlands, four in the north east, one in the north west, two in the south east, six in the south and three in the west.