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File image of Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown. Shutterstock
Coronavirus

Covid-19 outbreak confirmed at psychiatry department in Connolly Hospital

It is understood the outbreak has been ongoing since last month.

A COVID-19 OUTBREAK has been confirmed at the Department of Psychiatry in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown.

The HSE confirmed the outbreak which is understood to have been ongoing since the end of last month.  

A source within the psychiatry department has claimed that all patients in one of the three units tested positive for Covid-19 within two weeks of the outbreak. The HSE has not confirmed this claim. 

The source also said that approximately 20 staff have been infected within the department and said staff are yet to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The HSE has said it “cannot comment on individual cases” of Covid-19 for privacy reasons. 

The HSE’s Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC) said it “can confirm that there is an outbreak in the Department of Psychiatry”. 

“CHO DNCC continue to support all Mental Health Services to ensure there are appropriate staffing levels to provide safe, person-centred care and sufficient levels of Personal Protective Equipment,” it said in a statement to TheJournal.ie. 

The department has 47 beds and three units in total. It is located within Connolly Hospital, but is operated by the CHO DNCC. 

The source within the department said that “obviously people are anxious”. 

“We have already had a huge outbreak resulting in every patient in a unit testing positive,” they said. 

Vaccines

The source added there was “real anger and real frustration” within the department over the vaccination rollout. 

The CHO DNCC said it is working with the Department of Psychiatry to “ensure frontline HCWs [healthcare workers] are vaccinated as soon as possible”. 

The source said there is anger and low morale in the department “stemming from seeing other people getting the vaccine, and we would think that we should get it before” people in non-patient facing roles.

They said that in a mental health setting, “the same as in a nursing home or a residential care setting”, Covid-19 outbreaks are “nearly impossible to contain”.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) last week criticised the vaccine rollout among mental health and disability services as “delayed and sporadic”. 

The PNA general secretary, Peter Hughes, said frontline workers in these services are “not being prioritised and many of them are now feeling left behind” in the vaccination rollout. 

“We are being informed of very sporadic first dose vaccination in the mental health services with very little roll out in intellectual disability services and community mental health services in many parts of the country,” Hughes said in a statement. 

The HSE said today it is still vaccinating in line with the national sequencing document published in recent weeks. 

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