Locked down  | 

HSE's 'outbreak team' called in after entire psychiatric ward catches Covid-19

Naas General Hospital

Neil Fetherston

THE HSE has said an Outbreak Control Team has been set up to tackle a Covid-19 outbreak that saw an entire psychiatric ward at Naas General Hospital infected by one patient.

At least 18 patients and nine staff at the Kildare hospital have tested positive for the virus after the patient was transferred to Naas from Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown on Friday, October 16.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy described the outbreak as “shocking”.

“How can you possibly manage a congregated setting if you don’t have strict protocols in place for testing?

“It is not a minor deal to be admitted to a psychiatric ward. These people are at their most vulnerable."

The Lakeview Psychiatric Unit, a 30-bed ward which adjoins the emergency department within the main hospital building, has now been locked down.

The unit shares equipment such as x-ray and MRI machines with the rest of the hospital.

Staffing in the unit is now operating at under 50 per cent capacity, with replacements having been redeployed from other community services.

The HSE said today that an outbreak in a healthcare setting is called when there is a minimum of two positive contacts.

“In accordance with HPSC guidelines, an Outbreak Control Team has been convened and continues to work with Public Health and Occupational Health to manage the response to a Covid-19 outbreak on two wards in Naas General Hospital and in The Inpatient Acute Psychiatric Lakeview Unit, based on the grounds of Naas General Hospital,” the spokesperson said.

“The outbreaks in the acute hospital are separate to the outbreak on the Psychiatric ward and are being managed to ensure hospital services can continue in a safe environment.

“Covid-19 testing and contact tracing of both staff and patients is undertaken to ensure the protection of public health.

“Any staff identified as close contacts of Covid 19 cases are asked to isolate. Plans have been developed to support continuity of services and guide senior management to identify the level of impact on service and staff.”

The spokesperson added: “The protection of public health is of the utmost importance and every effort is taken to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19.

“Visiting to Hospitals is not permitted, except for compassionate grounds. Do not attend a hospital or any health care facility if you have any symptoms suggestive of Covid 19 infection. Please contact your GP by phone for advice if you have any concerns.”

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