Covid-19: Visits suspended at Cork nursing home

Management at the €1,000-a-week private nursing home in Macroom will now test all its residents. File image.

A Cork nursing home has suspended visits after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19. 

The result was discovered during routine testing of all the staff at CareChoice in Macroom. Management at the €1,000-a-week private nursing home for up to 62 residents is now to test all residents. CareChoice Macroom last had a positive case of Covid19 on April 20. 

The current positive test relates to one staff member and management says actions taken are “precautionary”. It says all staff, residents, and families continue to be kept informed in relation to Covid19. 

A spokesperson for CareChoice (Macroom) Limited said: “During routine weekly testing of staff, one who was asymptomatic tested positive for Covid-19 at CareChoice nursing home in Macroom.  All other staff members tested negative. 

“Our residents will now be tested as per our protocols and as a precaution visiting has been suspended. We continue to adhere to our high standard of care for our residents at all of our homes.

“We continue to closely follow all HSE and WHO guidelines, and are caring for and protecting our residents and staff to the best of our ability.” 

The home recently featured in a report by the health watchdog Hiqa. In a July 8 report regarding an unannounced inspection on January 15 this year, Hiqa recorded non-compliance in three of the 20 areas examiner. 

The inspector found the number of care staff working over the course of the inspection was not adequate, considering the "needs and dependency levels" of residents. 

The inspector also found call bells "being left unanswered for an unreasonable amount of time" and "residents waiting unreasonable amounts of time for assistance". 

Hiqa also said two bedrooms were deemed "inappropriate for residents who are not independently mobile". Some beds were considered "too close together". 

On the report, CareChoice (Macroom) Ltd said: “Hiqa’s inspection report stated that overall, the inspector found that a good service was being provided to the residents living in CareChoice Macroom and they enjoyed a good quality of life. 

“CareChoice Macroom has addressed the issue identified in relation to staffing levels and has also successfully maintained staffing levels during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The report also identified an issue with one bedroom in relation to size, and this room is currently not in use until it can be rectified.

The case in Macroom is one of three new Covid-19 positive results in all nursing homes, residential institutions, and community hospitals/long-stay units across both Cork and Kerry between June 22 and June 28. As of June 28, there were 11 cases in nursing homes, three up from the number for June 27, the first change for some time. There was no increase in cases in residential institutions and the last increase of a case in a long stay unit was June 23, up one from 20 the day before. 

According to the Department of Health, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has, as of midnight on July 4, advised it of 255 nursing home clusters. No new outbreaks have been notified during the week beginning June 28. Of the 255 clusters, 51 remain open and 204 have been closed. 

And in the week July 1-8, 81 cases have been associated with nursing home outbreaks. 

In total, nursing home clusters accounted for 5,805 confirmed cases and 985 deaths, and include those that have arisen in both residents and staff.