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Struck down Almost 50 health workers a day test positive for Covid-19 over two-week period

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that over one recent 14-day period, almost 50 health workers a day were becoming infected.


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Around 670 healthcare workers tested positive for Covid-19 over a recent 14-day period, according to an analysis of official figures.

The figures reflect a worrying exposure of healthcare workers to the virus as the number of cases was increasing in the community at the time.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that over one recent 14-day period, almost 50 health workers a day were becoming infected.

Mark Roe, a post-doctoral researcher at UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, said that the data reflected the ongoing risks to health workers.

"Beyond their personal welfare, potential harm to patients and their families, it's also bound to impact care settings if colleagues are close contacts and need to stay at home," he added.

"There is still an opportunity to address risk management here by getting to the bottom of why these happen and what the staff themselves think could help.

"The typical response seems to be doubling down on generic guidelines that weren't designed for the specific setting where they will be used. But empathising with staff on their experiences and needs is the first real step to coming up with any solution."


Washing hands with soap

Washing hands with soap

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Washing hands with soap

The number of healthcare workers infected in Ireland since the pandemic began now stands at more than 11,000, or in excess of 16pc of all those infected.

Last week it emerged that four hospitals around the country were battling outbreaks of the virus.

Around 161 healthcare staff between Ennis Hospital and University Hospital Limerick were out because they had either contracted the virus or were self-isolating.

The staff shortage placed both hospitals under considerable pressure. HSE chief executive Paul Reid later confirmed the hospitals were "losing a lot of staff on shifts, and it's causing significant disruption".

The outbreaks of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland have raised concerns for the welfare of healthcare workers there in recent days. The chair of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland, Dr Tom Black, said they had been "betrayed" by Stormont's decision not to impose a new lockdown - a decision he described as "negligent".

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that the number of people with coronavirus in Ireland's intensive care units has fallen to 32, while the overall number of people in hospital with the disease was 254 yesterday.

The figures are some of the lowest in almost a month as rates continue to fall.

The positivity rate for the virus is now at 3.9pc over the last seven days, according to the Government's data hub.

According to the HSE's daily operations report - published yesterday and showing the situation from 8pm on Friday - there were four Covid patients in ICU in University Hospital Limerick and four in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth.

There were three patients in ICU with coronavirus in Wexford, three in Dublin's Mater and two in each of Tallaght, St Vincent's, Cork University Hospital and Connolly Hospital Dublin, while there were single cases in ICUs elsewhere in Ireland.

Separately, Professor Philip Nolan said yesterday that Ireland would be facing 150 Covid-19 related deaths a month and "at least" 1,200 people in hospital had the country remained at Level 3 restrictions.

The chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team's Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group was responding to an article in The Irish Times.

Writing on Twitter, he said to have "kept things simmering along at Level 3" (with 1,000 cases a day) would have resulted in "at least 1,200 hospitalisations and 150 deaths a month".

Prof Nolan added: "Things kept simmering tend to boil over."

A further six Covid-19- linked deaths have been reported here, the National Public Health Emergency Team has said. The death toll now stands at 1,978. An additional 456 confirmed cases were recorded in the last 24-hour reporting period, taking to 67,526 the number of cases since the pandemic began.

The chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said: "We have seen higher numbers in recent days than we expected based on the encouraging trends of the last three weeks. We are concerned that this progress is at risk."

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