Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.41 17 Apr 2020


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The Health Service Executive (HSE) says it has seen a "significant growth" in requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) from nursing homes.

The health body's Chief Operations Officer Anne O'Connor says there are 335 long-term residential centres reporting an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Some 196 of these are in nursing homes - relating to cases among both residents and staff.

While Ms O'Connor says the HSE is to continue to deploy staff to teams locally.

It is also to implement a tracker system to nursing homes to capture their data.

A CRM tracker will capture their most up-to-date data, and report it back to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

While there is also to be an increase of on-site COVID-19 testing for both residents and staff.

Figures show there was a significant increase in outbreaks earlier in April, with a predominance in the east of the country.

coronavirus Minister for Health Simon Harris at a media briefing to outline COVID-19 mental health supports. Photo by: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
Earlier, Health Minister Simon Harris said: “We’re testing way more than the UK.

"Also, I’m very proud to be in a country where we’re actually recording what’s going on in our nursing home sector - difficult, challenging, painful as it is.

"You have many countries - including perhaps our nearest neighbours - who aren’t recording deaths in a nursing home setting as we are.

"For the first time ever, we can actually redeploy staff to private nursing homes from the public health service - that’s never before happened in the history of our State."

He added: "There are 61 HSE employees working in private nursing homes today that have already been redeployed.

"We’ve had 18 COVID response teams across the country supporting nursing homes… we’ve had 162 nursing homes who’ve accessed public health supports.

He also said there needs to be "a real policy discussion about how we care for older people" after the crisis - and that the current model is "not fit for purpose".

"We need to make sure the private nursing home sector is much more plugged in to the public health service."

It comes after health officials warned there's a "different experience" of the virus in nursing homes and residential institutions than in the wider community.

Figures show more than half of all coronavirus-related deaths have happened in nursing homes, and there have been more than 150 clusters in those settings.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Thursday: “We’re seeing a different experience of this infection in the general population than we’re seeing in nursing homes and residential settings.

“It seems to be [that we’ve] suppressed the infection… that it’s stopped growing, in effect, and we’re seeing that across a number of parameters."

Dr Holohan added that there has been "very significant progress" in driving the virus from the wider community, and that officials are now continuing to focus on nursing homes and other locations where there has been a "particular challenge".

Main image: An elderly person at a charity tea party. Picture by: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

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Anne O'Connor Clusters Coronavirus Covid-19 Hse Nursing Homes On-site Testing PPE Simon Harris Testing

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