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Anne O Connor Chief Operations Officer HSE and Paul Reid, HSE CEO, speaking at the HSE briefing this morning.

Covid-19 outbreaks confirmed in 100 disability settings

There have also been 36 outbreaks in mental health facilities, the HSE said.

THERE HAVE BEEN 100 outbreaks of Covid-19 cases confirmed in disability services across the country and 36 in mental health facilities, the HSE has said. 

There have also been 34 outbreaks confirmed in other settings including Direct Provision Centres and the Roma community. 

Chief Operations Officer of the HSE, Anne O’Connor, said a formalised testing programme in mental health settings will begin shortly.

“A key priority for us is to ensure that we are providing supports to all vulnerable communities,” she said at a HSE press briefing today. 

“What we’re seeing now is a growth in the disability and mental health settings and we would expect to see more of that,” she said. 

The number in disability settings increased from 82 outbreaks confirmed last Sunday to 100 today. 

There were 33 outbreaks in mental health facilities as of last Sunday.  

O’Connor said the HSE expects approximately 50 more outbreaks of Covid-19 cases in nursing homes. 

“We are now moving on to a formalised testing program around our mental health settings, so that is now started in terms of capturing the testing that is going on. 

“And just to say we have already been testing across our mental health and disability settings, and in the main in those areas, it has been the staff in this situation that has been doing the testing rather than all the people coming in to do testing.

So we will move to expect to see quite a considerable number more outbreaks in those settings.

Earlier this week, concerns were raised by Inclusion Ireland about the lack of reporting of the number of people with intellectual disabilities in institutional settings who have died from Covid-19.

The group which represents people with intellectual disabilities and their families met Minister for Health Simon Harris last Monday to discuss the situation.

COO Anne O’Connor said the HSE continues to provide support to families of children and adults with disabilities. 

“We are going to be scaling up our children and family disability intervention teams as we go in terms of just having the Children’s Disability Network managers in place,” she said.

The HSE said it is also working for the reintroduction of service delivery through reassigning special needs assistants which was first announced at the beginning of April.

Two weeks ago, it was announced that staff and residents in long-term care facilities including nursing homes would be prioritised for testing. 

84% of nursing homes with an outbreak have had staff and residents tested for Covid-19 as of 1 May and it is expected this will be completed within the next few days, CEO of the HSE Paul Reid said today. 

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