HSE to start testing nursing home residents living where no Covid-19 clusters found

HSE to start testing nursing home residents living where no Covid-19 clusters found

The HSE is to start testing nursing home residents living where no Covid-19 clusters have been found.

Yesterday saw the country's highest number of deaths in a single day recorded, with a further 41 people losing their lives after being infected with the virus.

406 people have now died, while there are 11,479 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

187 of the deaths occurred in nursing homes.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, says his team is trying to stop the virus getting into nursing homes in the first place.

“One of the things that we did look at, was the importance of, maybe, moving to do some sampling work in other nursing home settings that haven’t identified cluster," he said.

“So that we can maybe pro-actively begin to identify if this virus is in other settings.

“As we’ve said all long, one of the things we are trying to do, and as much as we can, is prevent this infection getting into nursing homes that haven’t yet got any identified cases.”

The Health Minister is to meet Nursing Homes Ireland again on Friday to discuss the outbreak across the sector.

Simon Harris met the body yesterday to see what more can be done to stop the spread of the virus.

Bu Mr Harris says up to 350 nursing homes still have not seen any cases of Covid-19.

“Many, many of our nursing homes still haven’t seen the coronavirus,” he said.

“And the nursing home owners and staff are working really hard to keep people safe.”

Mr Harris said he wants to do “everything humanly possible to protect older people.”

He said they are continuing to monitor “day-by-day” how to provide more support.

    The current restrictions started on Friday, March 27. They mandate that everyone should stay at home, only leaving to:
  • Shop for essential food and household goods;
  • Attend medical appointments, collect medicine or other health products;
  • Care for children, older people or other vulnerable people - this excludes social family visits;
  • Exercise outdoors - within 2kms of your home and only with members of your own household, keeping 2 metres distance between you and other people
  • Travel to work if you provide an essential service - be sure to practice physical distancing

Yesterday, the CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland said staffing and Personal Protection Equipment are key issues that need to be addressed.

Tadhg Daly said the surge in cases is effectively in the sector and they must work to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Mr Daly said: "The challenge is to ensure that where there are outbreaks that we up our game, but critically also for the significant majority of homes where there are no outbreaks, that we must remain on call to ensure the safety of the residents in those homes so that we can mitigate the virus at this point in time."

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