Residents moved from Cork direct provision centre following 'serious' Covid-19 outbreak

It is not known where the moved residents will be placed for their isolation period
Residents moved from Cork direct provision centre following 'serious' Covid-19 outbreak

It is understood the residents were moved out of the centre in taxis last night. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

A number of residents have been moved out of a direct provision centre in Cork following a significant Covid-19 outbreak.

It is understood the residents were moved out of the centre in taxis last night, and have been asked to self-isolate.

The current scale of the outbreak at the Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre in Cork is not yet known, though a letter from the HSE to residents earlier this week described it as being "potentially very serious."

Nine positive cases had been identified as of Tuesday evening, but it is believed this number has now increased significantly.

The centre itself houses more than 250 people.

After the outbreak was first reported earlier this week, residents were asked to restrict their movements as much as possible. It is understood the majority of residents had not received a Covid-19 test until Tuesday.

It is not known where the moved residents will be placed for their isolation period.

One of the centre’s residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said people at the centre were left in "a dire situation." 

The resident said: "A group of residents were moved in the morning, and another group were moved in the evening.

"Ten or 12 taxis were outside and people were moving most of the day. I don’t think they were told they were being moved out."

We don't know for sure the other location they have been moved to.

The resident speculated that somewhere between 30 and 40 people were moved out of the centre. 

Those remaining at the centre have been told remain in their rooms and isolate.

However, the resident says this is “extremely hard” given that people living at the centre share communal kitchen and laundry areas.

“We need to get water food, and we have a communal laundry facility. 

"We're running low on water and the moment, but I don't feel safe to go and get it, honestly. My wife said she would go an get it, but I don't feel safe for her to do it either. 

"If you knew people who maybe tested positive were there getting their water, how could you go there?

I don’t know if it’s safe for people to stay here like this.

The resident said that they and their family members had all received negative tests, but that others at the centre had not yet received a test result, and so there is a lot of “uncertainty” at the centre at the moment.

There are still people here waiting for a test who may be walking around in the same areas as with people who have negative test results.

"I have a little one and there are others like us who have small children, so it’s hard to stay in our rooms.

"I don't feel safe living here with my children anymore.

"If they could move those of us who tested negative, to a self-care facility where we could do our own thing, it would be a big relief for us."

A spokesperson for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said it "does not comment on specific Covid-19 cases or outbreaks."

"All information relating the medical condition of residents and health services provided to them, including the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 cases, are matters for the HSE to comment upon," the spokesperson said.

"The Department is guided by the advice of Public Health officials in each Community Health Organisation area as regards how cases of Covid-19 at centres in their region are to be managed, including decisions on when and where off-site isolation is deemed necessary. 

"Where off-site isolation is deemed necessary, a resident is moved to the off-site facility and supported while there. 

"The Department will continue to work with the HSE and the Department of Health in the best interests of all residents whilst we remain in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic."

The Department said that the "health and wellbeing of all residents during the pandemic" remained their "highest priority."

"To that end, a wide range of measures have been put in place across the accommodation network to address any Covid-19 related issues should they arise. 

"These measures were implemented in collaboration with the HSE and informed by regional public health officials and infection control teams," the spokesperson aded.

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