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Investigation into late reporting of 244 cases of Covid-19 finds Mater Hospital acted legally

Controversy arose last month after it emerged that there was a delay in the reporting of the cases.

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO anomalies regarding the reporting of Covid-19 cases at the Mater Hospital in Dublin has found that the hospital complied with legal obligations.

Controversy arose last month when it emerged that there was a delay in the official publication of some 244 cases at the hospital dating back to mid-March.

Covid-19 is a notifiable disease, and the reporting cases to health authorities is a statutory legal requirement.

The head of the Health Service Executive Paul Reid subsequently asked Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry to “establish the facts of the matter”.

At the HSE’s weekly Covid-19 briefing today, Reid confirmed that the report into the delay had found that the Mater carried out its legal obligations.

Reid said that the 244 cases were reported to public health teams at the time, and that contact tracing on confirmed cases had been carried out.

“That report has been concluded and forwarded to the department, and the secretary general and the minister,” Reid said.

He noted that the report “does conclude that the Mater Hospital did carry out its legal obligations in terms of reporting the positive cases; they were reported properly to the public health teams in the area; and it also found that the contract tracing was completed in the proper manner”. 

Reid added that the report made recommendations about how the HSE would validate Covid-19 data in the future.

Meanwhile, the HSE said that more than 350,000 Covid-19 tests has been completed in Ireland to date, including just over 21,000 last week. The positivity rate is 1.7%, but this jumps to 7.2 among close contacts of confirmed cases.

It is also hoped that the health service’s contact tracing app will be signed off by government and rolled out this month.

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The app is currently being trialled by gardaí and a data protection assessment has been sent to the Data Protection Commissioner for review.

“No country to date has launched a fully decentralised model, where the data is held on a person’s phone, not on a centralised system,” Reid said, noting that Ireland will be the first country to do so.  

With reporting by Órla Ryan.

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