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Nurses at Portlaoise hospital raise concerns after Covid outbreak leads to closure of ward

The medical ward at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise is no longer accepting new patients.

File photo of Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
File photo of Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

NURSES AT MIDLAND Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) have raised concerns about staff shortages amid a Covid-19 outbreak at the hospital.

The medical ward at the hospital is no longer taking new patients after a number of patients and staff tested positive for the virus.

Fourteen patients are currently being treated on the ward and six beds are vacant.

As of 8pm yesterday, four patients in the hospital were confirmed to have Covid-19, including one in critical care. Two further patients are suspected to have the virus.

Nursing staff have expressed concern at the fact a number of colleagues are off work, either because they have Covid-19, were a close contact of a confirmed case, or are waiting for test results.

Two patients with Covid-19, both of whom were residents in the nearby Kilminchy Lodge Nursing Home, died in the hospital recently.

A spokesperson for the hospital said “testing and tracing is ongoing” so they are not in a position to comment on how many employees are off work due to the outbreak.

A person familiar with the situation said nurses at the hospital are “frightened” and “really anxious” about the outbreak and its impact on staff numbers.

The spokesperson for MRHP confirmed that the medical ward is now closed to new admissions because of Covid-19 cases among “a number of patients and staff members”.

According to data in the Covid-19 Hub, in the last 24 hours there have been 26 hospital admissions in Ireland, 238 hospital confirmed cases, and 29 people in Intensive Care Units.

The number of hospitalised cases dropped from 240 on Monday to 214 last night but rose again today to 238.

Outbreak team

After the Covid-19 cases were identified at MRHP, the hospital’s outbreak control team was convened, in accordance with Health Protection Surveillance Centre guidelines.

“Covid-19 testing and contact tracing of both staff and patients is actively ongoing to ensure the protection of public health. Any staff identified as close contacts of Covid-19 cases are now self-isolating,” the spokesperson said.

They noted that all other services at the hospital continue to operate as normal, and patients who have appointments to should attend unless contacted by the hospital directly.

“The hospital would like to reassure patients, staff and the public that all appropriate steps have been taken in accordance with national guidelines. Staff and patients have been provided with key hospital contacts if any concerns need to be addressed.

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“The protection of public health is of the utmost importance to the hospital and every effort is being taken to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19 at this time,” the spokesperson said.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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