Michael Staines
Michael Staines

14.20 15 May 2020


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An investigation is underway at the Mater Hospital in Dublin after health authorities were only made aware of 244 cases of COVID-19 yesterday.

The National Public Health Emergency team announced a total of 426 confirmed cases last night, noting that the 244 were the result of a delay in notifications at one hospital.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said they were “spread over a very lengthy period of time” that goes back as far as mid-March.

This afternoon, the HSE confirmed that the hospital in question was the Mater and said the situation was under review.

Legal requirments

In a statement, the Mater said it has reported all confirmed cases to health authorities on a daily basis and said it was working with the HSE to find out where the problem arose.

“At all times the Mater Hospital provided the information that the HSE required and met all legal requirements to report infectious diseases,” it said.

“All of this information is correct and up to date.

“We are working with the HSE to understand why the provided data may not have been accurately captured.”

Health staff

The HSE said it believes all 244 cases relate to Mater Hospital staff members and said it is “not in a position to confirm whether the hospital did or did not report.”

The Mater said it has carried out comprehensive contact tracing on every single member of staff who tested positive who tested positive for the virus.

In excess of 300 staff at the Mater have tested positive for COVID-19 and a further 1500 have self-isolated following contact tracing to protect patients, fellow staff and the public - despite the enormous impact this has had on our operations,” it said.

Hospitals have a legal obligation to report cases of infectious diseases as soon as they're aware of them and the Health Minister Simon Harris has warned that checks would be needed to see if the matter is criminal.

He said it's "extremely disappointing" that this happened and he is awaiting a full report.

All of the country's hospitals will now have their COVID-19 systems examined to ensure they are meeting their legal obligation to report infectious diseases immediately.


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