Dáil hears of shocking coronavirus cluster in nursing home in Leinster

Dáil hears of shocking coronavirus cluster in nursing home in Leinster
File photo of Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly.

One nursing home has seen almost 100 of its staff and residents tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, the Dáil has heard.

The shocking situation, believed to be a Leinster-based facility, was outlined by Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly as TDs debated the pandemic and gaps in responses.

Mr Donnelly outlined how 70 of the 200 staff had tested positive as had 19 of the 100 residents.

He said four residents in the same nursing home had also passed away and that kitchen and cleaning staff had left the facility.

Later, Mr Donnelly said: "One health care worker in Dublin who often sees 10 different clients a day has contracted Covid-19.

He added that the worker also lives in a small house with eight other health care workers who also have 10 clients a day.

Deputy Donnelly said: "It is entirely possible that some of them have been infected and in turn passed the virus on to vulnerable people they care for.

The HSE have confirmed they have no PPE to provide to home care workers.

“This has to change. There are 13,000 private home care workers in Ireland. It makes no sense to tell everyone over 70 that they can’t leave their house, while sending into those same homes people with no training in infection control and no PPE."

TDs during the day clashed on whether the parliament should sit or not with most of the country on lockdown and advised not to leave their homes.

Health Minister Simon Harris criticised the meeting in the Dáil chamber, which he said ran counter to the national message to stay at home.

He noted the EU parliament had met digitally but TDs coming to Leinster House “risked public health" with close contact with staff and travelling beyond their home.

Earlier, there was a row at the Dáil business committee with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael TDs pushing for the parliament not to meet while Sinn Fein, other left-wing TDs, Solidarity-People before Profit members and Independents insisted the meeting must go ahead.

Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry told the chamber there were tens of thousands of people still being forced to go into work.

This included workers at a Tic Tac factory in Cork as well as another company where artificial hips and knees are made.

He also highlighted how some bus drivers had been given no protective equipment or options and called for a fare waiver during the crisis.

Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly demanded that frontline workers get sufficient access to personal protective equipment and she also claimed that private consultants now engaged by the state to respond to the emergency were getting paid more than those contracted under the public service.

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