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Five healthcare workers have died of coronavirus, says Department of Health

It is the first time that the number of fatalities of frontline workers have been confirmed.

Dr Ronan Glynn
Dr Ronan Glynn
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE DEPARTMENT OF Health has said that five healthcare workers have died in Ireland of coronavirus. 

It is the first time that the number of deaths of frontline workers has been confirmed. 

Dr Ronan Glynn, the deputy chief medical officer, gave the figures at this evening’s briefing at the Department of Health in response to a question from TheJournal.ie. 

Dr Glynn said that of the 3,830 healthcare workers who had contracted coronavirus, 159 had been hospitalised. 

Of these, he said that 24 had been admitted to ICU and five had died. 

The figures are correct as of last Saturday, Dr Glynn said. He said he was not aware of any deaths of healthcare workers in the six days since then. 

Ireland has one of the highest rates of diagnosed healthcare worker infection in Europe, the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation has said. 

Healthcare workers make up just over 27% of the total number of cases in Ireland. The INMO has said that over one third of the healthcare workers who have contracted coronavirus are nurses. 

The death toll in Ireland has now reached over 1,000 people, health officials confirmed at tonight’s briefing. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that 37 patients diagnosed with coronavirus in Ireland have died and there have been 577 new cases. 

There are also a further 185 ‘probable deaths’, where it is suspected that the patient who died had coronavirus but it has not been confirmed by a test. 

There has been a total of 18,184 cases in Ireland so far and 1,014 deaths. 

New guidance issued earlier this week says that all healthcare workers who are providing care within 2 metres of any patient, regardless of whether they have Covid-19 or not, are to wear a surgical mask from now on. 

A spokesperson for the HSE said that the change was based on a decision by the National Public Health Expert Team (NPHET). 

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Christine Bohan

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