One in 10 Covid-19 cases are nurses - INMO

Nearly one in 10 Covid-19 cases are nurses, according to HSE figures obtained by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
One in 10 Covid-19 cases are nurses - INMO

Nearly one in 10 Covid-19 cases are nurses, according to HSE figures obtained by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The figures also show healthcare workers make up over a quarter of the Covid-19 positive cases tested in Ireland.

Out of the 9,599 cases diagnosed by April 11, this amounted to 2,501 healthcare workers, of whom 883 were nurses.

The INMO says the high proportion of healthcare workers who have tested positive gives Ireland one of the highest rates of diagnosed healthcare worker infection in Europe.

The EU’s lead Covid-19 agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, found that as of April 8, between 9% and 26% of all diagnosed Covid-19 cases are in healthcare workers across Europe.

Among a number of things the INMO is now calling for is a universal face mask policy for all workers in healthcare settings.

It is also calling for better protection for healthcare workers and more detailed information about infections, including the source of transmission.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “The overall public health measures are having a welcome and substantial impact on the spread of Covid-19.

“Worryingly, rates of healthcare worker infection are on the rise. We need to urgently see a detailed breakdown of where the infection is occurring, in order to take rapid corrective action.

“That should include a review of policy to ensure everyone working in a healthcare facility has the appropriate level of PPE. It is consistently our members’ top concern.

“We also need to see these figures for healthcare workers published officially and regularly. “Clarity and transparency on this issue will prevent unhelpful, runaway speculation which has caused great fears amongst our members and their colleagues in other professions.”

The number of healthcare workers who tested positive for Covid-19 was two in the first week of March out of a total of 16 cases.

This number has shot up to 1,023 out of a total of 4,647 in the one week ending April 11.

Out of a total of 9,599 cases, 2,501 are healthcare workers - amounting to 26%.

Of the healthcare workers affected, 883 - 35.3% - were nurses, 445 were healthcare assistants, 287 were doctors and 37 were porters.

The INMO’s call for a universal facemask policy for health workers comes as the World Health Organisation’’s Covid-19 envoy David Nabarro has said facemasks will soon become an everyday “norm”.

He told the BBC three types of people mainly need to wear masks - health workers, people with symptoms and people “in frequent contact with others”.

His comments about masks follow on from recent advice from the EU’s lead agency managing Europe’s response to Covid-19 that people should consider wearing non-medical face masks in public.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the use of face masks in public “may . . . reduce the spread of the infection” in the community.

This is because, they say, masks minimize the excretion of respiratory droplets from infected individuals who have not yet developed symptoms or who remain asymptomatic.

The Department of Health said it “keeps all international evidence under continuous review including the role of masks in health care settings as the basis for any recommendations”.

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