Proportion of healthcare staff Covid-19 cases rise

Over 4 per cent of healthcare staff Covid-19 cases “most likely” acquired in healthcare setting

Paul Reid, HSE CEO

In the past fortnight, confirmed new cases of Covid-19 among healthcare staff have risen to almost 12 per cent of 1,810 new cases, Irish Medical Times reports.

More than 4 per cent of 210 confirmed Covid-19 cases in healthcare staff, over the past two weeks, were acquired, “most likely”, in a healthcare setting, latest Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) figures show.

To date, 30 per cent of Covid-19 cases, overall, had been among healthcare workers.

Up to two weeks ago, while the number of confirmed cases had been rising, the proportion of new cases among healthcare workers had fallen to a low of 3 per cent, Chief Executive Paul Reid told the latest Health Service Executive (HSE) operational briefing.

Figures outlined at the briefing, showed that on Monday this week, in excess of 13,000 referrals by general practitioners (GPs) had been received for testing, more than double the previous Monday.

This was against between 4,000 to 5,000 referrals from GPs generally, while the number of referrals reached 8,000 on Tuesday. Reid added that there had been a significant rise in upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) seen.

The HSE was seeing a concerning trend of people presenting to all the health services with worrying levels of anxiety, and that was an obvious concern for it.

Reid urged people to live with a strong level of confidence and hope. “Fear isn’t a sustainable response. We do need to live our lives in a very different way,” he added.

The average number of new cases had been 151 over the last seven days, up from last week when the average per day had been 120 new cases.

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in intensive care (ICUs) remained stable at six. Patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 accounted for 5 per cent of 282 occupied beds critical care beds.

The number of confirmed cases in hospital had been trending up over the past five weeks and, as of Wednesday night, there were 50 patients hospitalised, up from 40 for the previous week.

Anne O’Connor, HSE Chief Operations Officer, pointed to a significant increase in activity in the health services.

At the same time, continued increases were seen in waiting lists for scheduled care, outpatients, inpatients, daycare, and “scope” activity.

The waiting list for outpatients’ appointments had risen to 611,000 outpatients.

The numbers awaiting scopes had grown to 36,000. While the figure had started to come down, it was still only happening at 50 per cent of the previous rate of activity with staff particularly challenged in this Covid-19 environment.

Photo of Paul Reid: Brian MacCormaic

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