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90% of residents and all but one nursing staff in nursing home test positive for Covid-19, Dáil told

Two TDs from the Roscommon–Galway constituency say the nursing home is located in their area.

Image: Shutterstock (File)

Updated Oct 22nd 2020, 3:22 PM

THE DÁIL HAS been told about a nursing home in the west of the country in which 90% of its 28 residents have tested positive for Covid-19, with one of the residents having passed away.

The outbreak was raised by a number of Dáil deputies, who said that seven out of eight nursing staff have tested positive and that just one nurse was on duty as a result.

The HSE have confirmed that an outbreak was declared on Sunday after serial testing identified two cases, and that all residents and staff were tested the following day.

A HSE Infection Prevention and Control nurse attended the nursing home on Monday 19 October to provide support to staff.

“The first outbreak control team meeting chaired by public health took place on Tuesday and there have been daily outbreak control team meeting since, and they continue,” the HSE’s Chief Operations Officer Anne O’Connor told a media briefing this afternoon.   

“As of this morning, we know that a significant number of the staff nursing and health care workers have tested positive. We know that a large number of the residents have tested positive.” 

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that he couldn’t go into much detail about the case but that senior management is on site “now as we speak”. 

“Let me be very clear, these cases were detected through testing the HSE does. Infection Prevention and Control teams were deployed, staff have been deployed, serial testing is ongoing, all staff and residents were tested,” he said.

“There are senior management on site right now as we speak, significant financial supports are given to all nursing homes, significant personal protective equipment is being supplied, the HSE is doing everything it can to protect nursing homes.”

Pearse Doherty TD had told the Dáil earlier today that the proprietors of the nursing home had been “pleading” for additional support. 

“They have been begging in desperation for the HSE to help them for the last two days, they have not received the help,” Doherty said. 

We have nursing staff who’ve been on call now, one nurse for 72 hours looking after 28 residents. Unfortunately, one of those residents has passed away, others are being transported to hospital.

Roscommon–Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice said the nursing home is in his constituency and that all but one of the nursing staff has tested positive. 

“Eight nursing staff, seven has tested positive, 11 care assistants, 10 of them has tested positive. They went through the protocols and contacted the HSE, the words they were told was ‘don’t panic get agency staff’. Well, there was no agency staff and the one nurse and the one care assistant who haven’t tested positive did 14 hours yesterday,” he said. 

The HSE promised staff this morning and nobody showed up. Two people have now this morning been admitted to hospital and this nursing home is looking at having to send the rest of the patients into hospital because the HSE did not send any staff to help them out.

Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughten said that he has contacted the Minister for Health about the matter.

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“We find this morning in my constituency, where 90% of the residents of a nursing home, 90% of the staff in the nursing home, have now tested positive for Covid-19.” he said. 

We have a nursing home being run for the last three days by a cook and two other staff, which is totally unacceptable.

“Now Tánaiste I accept that you don’t know the detail in relation to it. I have had the opportunity to provide the Minister for Health with that information here this morning and in fairness to him, he has left the chamber immediately on getting that information to act upon it.”

Taking Leaders Questions today, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “I will absolutely look into this once I’m finished here in the chamber today. And I’m reassured to hear you say that the Minister of Health is already on the case and I think that’s important.”

Addressing the staffing concerns at the facility, O’Connor said that “stable staffing” is now in place. 

“We’re continuing to support and we also know that the rosters are covered, that we have staff in place to provide support to the nursing home. We also have a dedicated manager, providing daily support in terms of accessing staff,” she said.

We’re continuing to monitor the nursing home closely. And we know that we have stable staffing in place for the next three days. So I just want to address that because I’m aware that there has been considerable discussion of about it today. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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