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Mortality census of long-term residential care facilities to be carried out this weekend

The data will be published “as soon as possible”, the Department of Health said.

Image: Shutterstock/evrymmnt

A CENSUS OF mortality across all long-term residential care facilities is being carried out this weekend. 

The Department of Health confirmed that the census will cover all Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 deaths since 1 January of this year, regardless of where the death occurred. 

The data will be published “as soon as possible”, the Department said. 

At a HSE briefing yesterday afternoon, it was confirmed that long-term residential care centres where there had been confirmed Covid-19 cases would be prioritised for testing.

At the Department of Health’s briefing yesterday evening, it was updated to say that all nursing homes and other care centres would now be prioritised for testing.

This was announced after 11 residents at St Mary’s Hospital in Dublin who were confirmed to have Covid-19 died.

A further eight patients who were confirmed to have Covid-19 at a residential centre in Portlaoise, Co Laois, died over the bank holiday weekend.

HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor confirmed at yesterday’s briefing that there have been 335 outbreaks in long-term residential care centres (LTRC). Of these, 186 outbreaks were in private centres, and 112 were at HSE providers.

It’s important to mention that outbreaks are not the same as clusters. An outbreak is one confirmed case, a cluster involves more than three cases.

196 (or 59%) of those outbreaks are in nursing homes, she said.

Among those measures announced were “enhanced testing” at centres, which means that in any residential centre where there is a confirmed case, that all staff and residents would be tested.

Speaking at the Department of Health briefing last night, Dr Tony Holohan said that testing at nursing homes would be prioritised above other tests. 

“There will be a focus in relation to those centres that have had experience with this infection, there will be a focus also on staff in particular in places that have not yet reported cases of this infection, and then perhaps also patients in those settings.”

There are around 28,000 patients and 30,000 staff at nursing home facilities across the country; although there are no definite numbers yet available for staff at mental health and disability residential centres, there are around 2,600 beds across mental health facilities and around 8,300 residential places in disability centres.

Includes reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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