'Concerning' increase in Covid cases noted in nursing homes

'Concerning' Increase In Covid Cases Noted In Nursing Homes 'Concerning' Increase In Covid Cases Noted In Nursing Homes
Nursing Homes Ireland estimate there are currently 15-20 Covid outbreaks in facilities around the country. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images
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There has been a small but "concerning" increase in the number of Covid-19 cases detected in nursing homes over the last number of weeks, according to a representative body from the sector.

Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) estimates there are currently 15-20 outbreaks in facilities around the country despite very high levels of vaccination among staff and residents.

The cyberattack on the HSE's IT systems has meant no detailed breakdowns on active outbreaks have been made publicly available, however, The Irish Times reports a number of outbreaks have been detected in recent days through contact-tracing.

NHI chief executive Tadhg Daly said it is a "concerning development" which needs to be monitored. "To the best of my knowledge it’s both staff and residents, both vaccinated and unvaccinated," he added.

Although people included in these outbreaks are not getting severely ill, likely thanks to vaccination, Mr Daly said the cases are having an operational impact on nursing homes.

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Serial testing within the sector is continuing, mainly focusing on unvaccinated staff, with 0.49 per cent of the latest round of tests returning positive results, amounting to 36 cases.

NHI also called on the Government to get to work on implementing structural reforms for the sector which were put forward by an expert panel a year ago.

The group said it was disappointed the reforms had not yet been advanced by the Government, adding that calls from the sector for necessary resources to implement the recommendations had been largely ignored.

The Department of Health was contacted by The Irish Times for comment.

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