A leading hospital consultant has revealed that 70 doctors and nurses have been infected with Covid-19 at Cavan General Hospital.
Four wards have also been closed as management attempts to curb the spread of the virus.
A memo was sent to staff at the hospital yesterday afternoon outlining the measures after the confirmed outbreak.
Laura Durcan, Vice President of the Irish Hospital Consultants, told RTÉ Radio 1's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme that dozens more medical staff are in isolation.
She said it includes more than half of senior medical staff, and almost half of the surgical team.
Dr Durcan, who is based in Beaumont Hospital, said medics there are being dispatched to work at Cavan General Hospital because of all the healthcare staff who have been infected.
It comes amid concerns that hospitals in Dublin could reach capacity in ICU, after the Mater Hospital said its intensive care unit is full and patients had been moved to the high dependency unit instead.
Dr Durcan said: "What we have been doing from our group is sending staff to Cavan to make sure that they can be safely staffed over the upcoming number of days.
"Some of our SHOs 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 Cavan General, where a number of staff have been affected by an outbreak, to make sure the hospital is properly staffed over the coming weekend.
She added: "As it stands we're looking to cover the next four to five days. We're hoping to get them back to us."
Meanwhile, the closure of wards in the Cavan hospital has been described as “not surprising” by a local TD.
Local TD Pauline Tully told Shannonside Northern Sound News that proper protective equipment was not provided to staff and shower and changing facilities are not up to standard:
She claims staff have become infected with Covid-19 after they were treating patients without the appropriate PPE, with many other staff described as “fearful for themselves and their families”.
The situation in the hospital has been described as “very scary” by a member of staff who spoke off the record to Northern Sound, with concerns over the number of staff testing positive.
In a statement, the RCSI Hospitals group refused to confirm the number of doctors and nurses who have become infected, but said its staff absenteeism rate has increased by almost 7% since January.
The statement read: “Cavan General 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.”
“In January 2020, prior to Covid-19, the absenteeism rate was 5.6%, presently it is 12.2%. The Hospital continues to have a number of staff off at present.”