STAFF of all grades in a Covid-19 unit of Cork University Hospital are on sick leave after contracting the virus or as they await test results, it has been revealed.
A text message, seen by The Echo, from a senior CUH doctor informed GPs across Cork on Wednesday that staff in the unit are off sick with Covid-19 and a number are also awaiting test results.
The staff are based at the acute medical assessment unit (AMU), which has been used to house Covid-19 cases.
As a result, the unit cannot be used for assessments due to concerns of more contamination and CUH outpatient appointments will be moved to online platforms only where possible.
In a text message to GPs, the senior CUH doctor said the hospital is “congested”.
“We have reviewed and both admitted and discharged a high number of Covid-19 patients.
“A proportion of staff of all grades in the AMU are now on sick leave due to confirmed Covid-19 while others await swabs etc.
“The Assessment area has been used to accommodate/board Covid-19 cases and can’t be used for assessment due to the risk of cross infection,” the doctor added.
“All patients are therefore being routed and assessed through a single hub in the Emergency Department.
“We will continue to take calls from GPs but have to prioritise supporting the GP assessment hub and assessing acutely unwell patients who need hospital admission.
“For the moment our outpatient clinics where possible will be virtual for the reason above.
“We will update you as the situation evolves,” the doctor concluded.
The South/South West Hospital Group was contacted on Wednesday evening for comment.
The text message comes amid increased cases of Covid-19 in Cork, with almost 120 new cases confirmed in the Rebel County on Wednesday alone.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet met last night to discuss moving three border counties, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, to Level Four restrictions following increased cases in the area and in Northern Ireland.
The move would mean house visits or indoor gatherings and the closure of non-essential retail outlets.
The restrictions were imposed after Northern Ireland entered into a four-week lockdown which will see pubs and restaurants close to combat increasing Covid-19 cases.