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Covid-19: Concerns over testing in mental health facilities as new cases fall

There were 125 suspected or confirmed cases relating to residents and staff as of last Friday.

Image: Shutterstock/anju901

NEW DATA SHOWS there has been a notable decrease in the total number of cases of Covid-19 across the country’s mental health services.

Figures compiled by the Mental Health Commission show there were 125 suspected or confirmed cases relating to residents and staff across the 181 facilities it monitors on 22 May.

The figures are a decrease from 201 suspected or confirmed cases the previous week. There was no increase in the number of deaths of residents of mental health services from Covid-19, which remains at 17. 

However, the commission has expressed concern that some mental health staff were still awaiting test results for Covid-19 last week, despite guidance introduced a month ago requiring all staff to be tested.

“Any significant delays in the receipt of staff test results were escalated to the HSE last week,” said the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, John Farrelly.

“The HSE responded to these escalations and informed us that there are different testing pathways for mass testing and for outbreak testing.

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“We understand that while outbreak testing is prioritised and has a very short turnaround, there may be some delays associated with mass testing.”

However, Farrelly said it was encouraging that there were no new additional deaths from Covid-19 across its services last week, on top of the decrease in the number of suspected and confirmed cases.

In a statement, the commission said it would continue to update the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the Department of Health and the HSE of ongoing risk-ratings of  services across the country.

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