'The numbers are being fudged,' says nurse who brands testing regime an 'omnishambles'

Ireland’s Covid-19 testing regime is an “omnishambles” and an “unmitigated disaster”, a frontline nurse has stated.
'The numbers are being fudged,' says nurse who brands testing regime an 'omnishambles'
File photo.

Ireland’s Covid-19 testing regime is an “omnishambles” and an “unmitigated disaster”, a frontline nurse has stated.

Mary (not her real name), who works at a midlands community hospital, previously described to the Irish Examiner the chronic issues her own institution faced due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

She said that while issues with PPE have eased to an extent since the acquisition of supply from China by the HSE, huge issues remain due to the backlog of people awaiting test results.

“The next four weeks will be hell,” she said.

“The official numbers are hilarious,” she said, adding that in her and her colleagues’ opinion, the number of people with Covid-19 in their hospital is almost three times what the official figures say.

Particular ire is reserved for the manner with which communication as to Ireland’s positive numbers has been handled.

“The fact that the numbers from Germany are only coming through now is ridiculous, when we knew beyond doubt that the numbers were higher,” she said.

The numbers are still being fudged, it’s as simple as that.

She was speaking with regard to news, which emerged last Friday, that figures received regarding historic tests were not being included in Ireland’s official statistics as it was believed they would give a false impression of how the disease is spreading.

She said: “So the 1,500 people announced as new cases last week, with those tests having happened in March, we were dealing with those people in hospital two weeks ago. And still we were told that the numbers are low. It’s really bad. What the public is being told isn’t true.”

Mary suggested that until the health authorities “start giving out real data and telling the public what the numbers are and what is actually going on, the people on the street won’t be able to make the right choices regarding their own wellbeing”.

She said: “At present, the testing simply isn’t there. Until those centres are up and running, and until there is turnaround testing in 24 hours, particularly for healthcare workers, we cannot get on top of this thing.

Something serious needs to be done about nursing homes, and there needs to be a really clear plan in place.

“The thought of the lockdown being removed on May 5, it simply cannot be until the testing is sorted, because if there’s a second wave, it’s going to be a lot worse than the first. People are starting to suffer on lockdown. If it’s taken away and then reimposed, people are going to go crazy.

“And if this year’s flu season comes early, as it did last year, then you can forget it.”

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