Professor Jack Lambert, a consultant for infectious disease has said that widespread testing for Covid-19 in nursing homes and residential facilities is “a good start” but it needs to be linked to rapid treatment and contact tracing.
There is a need for an action plan to provide additional care and treatment for residents and staff in these facilities, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland. Staff from acute hospitals also need to be re-deployed quickly to boost treatment plans.
Patients in nursing homes and residential facilities are not currently getting all the medical care they need, he said. “What are we going to do with the test results?” (following widespread testing).
Prof. Lambert said it is necessary to ensure the test results have a positive effect and that patients are not just left in nursing homes, which are understaffed.
“Boots on the ground” are needed as many nursing homes are under-resourced with staff and expertise and clusters of the virus are continuing to emerge.
It was possible to limit spread in a facility between patients and staff, he said, but this requires more staff to be brought into homes to support them “in any way we can.”
Prof. Lambert pointed out that there are 120 nursing homes and 420 private nursing homes in the country and many need a lot of assistance in isolating staff and patients with coronavirus and in separating the healthy from the infected.
He said he had heard of some nursing homes with no GP support and a lack of nurses.
Latest figures show 610 people have now died from Covid-19, with 39 deaths announced yesterday.
The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland has reached 15,251 as another 493 new cases of the virus have been found in the Republic yesterday by Irish and German labs.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Simon Harris has warned that allowing complacency to set in among the public in the fight against Covid-19 could be disastrous.
In a video message on Twitter on Sunday night, the minister said the progress made by the Irish people risks being undone if people become complacent.
Mr Harris warned progress made so far was “fragile”.
He said: “There’s an air of complacency creeping in in relation to Ireland’s battle against Covid-19 and we have to push back against it.
“We’re at a very delicate moment and it would not take much for that to be reversed."
Mr Harris will speak with his European counterparts by teleconference later on Monday to share updates on how efforts to tackle the virus are going across the European Union.
- 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