Covid-19 outbreak at Cork direct provision centre

There are four confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the centre, according to a letter addressed to residents from the HSE South's public health team
Covid-19 outbreak at Cork direct provision centre

The Kinsale Road direct provision centre has recorded four cases of Covid-19. 

There has been an outbreak of Covid-19 at the Kinsale Road direct provision centre in Cork city. 

There are four confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the centre, according to a letter addressed to residents from the HSE South's public health team, which has been widely circulated on social media. 

The letter said that the affected residents were "off-site" while they recover. 

However, the letter claimed that the majority of residents had not come forward for testing so the HSE "[does] not know if there are further cases or on-going transmission within the centre." 

The letter added that a round of testing took place in September, but claimed only a third of residents "took up the offer of a test on these occasions". 

The letter also said that a small number of residents were deemed close contacts of the confirmed cases and they have been transferred off-site.

Roos Demol, a volunteer who works with people living at the centre, said testing was an issue from some residents, who were afraid to "miss work".

While mass testing has been ongoing in the centre since the first positive case, previous to this residents who had any symptoms were referred through the GP pathway.

Ms Demol added that it was hard for asylum seekers to access this type of community testing, due to the fact they aren't allowed to drive.

She added that it was hard for asylum seekers to access community testing, due to the fact they aren't allowed to drive.

"Often the testing centres are not located near the direct provision centres. They may have no idea how to get there, and have no money for a taxi."

In terms of self-isolation, Ms Demol says people are frightened they will be sent far away to isolate if they do test positive, meaning they will miss work or be separated from their support network.

She also said it was hard for people to social distance in direct provision centres.

"The shared rooms are a big problem, there are also shared bathrooms and showers. Most people don't have a private bathroom or shower."

Families are also trying to keep children in their rooms. Ms Demol says she got a call from a worried resident yesterday.

"He has a young daughter, she is four years old, he himself has asthma. They are just going to lock themselves up in their room."

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