Cork GP: Further Covid care home cases 'inevitable' 

Cork GP: Further Covid care home cases 'inevitable' 

FURTHER cases of Covid-19 in nursing homes are “inevitable” as the number of cases in the community increases, a Cork GP has warned.

Dr John Sheehan said Cork has performed well in combating Covid-19 but warned, as cases are now rising, it is likely more cases of the virus will be detected in nursing homes and he added this is a major concern for management of the facilities.

However, Dr Sheehan added that nursing homes have put efforts in place to prevent the spread of the virus if a case is detected.

The Cork GP and former Lord Mayor was speaking after a confirmed case of Covid-19 was detected in a Care Choice nursing home in Montenotte on the northside of Cork City.

Nursing home management did not comment on the exact number of positive cases onsite but said they are liaising with the HSE and continue to follow all HSE guidelines.

“In nursing homes, there is certainly a heightened concern about cases in nursing homes given the vulnerability of residents there,” said Dr Sheehan.

“But again, as the prevalence of Covid in the community increases, it’s inevitable that there will be some cases in nursing and care homes.”

“The challenge for them then is to reduce the chances of transmission within the nursing and care homes,” he added.

“I know that nursing homes have been working hard alongside Public Health to reduce the risk of that transmission.

“All the nursing homes I know have put extraordinary efforts in to ensure that if a case occurs, the chance of transmission is cut out.” Dr Sheehan said any potential return to visiting restrictions at nursing homes would be a blow to residents.

“The restrictions had a huge effect on people in nursing homes because they couldn’t see their families, and they may not have been familiar with the technology needed for Skype or Zoom calls,” he explained.

“That sense of isolation that they experienced earlier this year can really affect people.

“It’s been a long six months and residents are only recently allowed visitors and even then in restricted settings,” he added.

“So I think it would be a very demoralising blow to elderly people if visiting restrictions are reintroduced and I hope that, if it does come to that, alternative methods for visiting such as windows or screens are used.” A number of Covid-19 cases have been confirmed at locations across Cork in recent days.

Management at Penneys in Wilton Shopping Centre indicated that one staff member has tested positive for Covid-19. The store has been deep cleaned.

Thompsons restaurant and microbrewery confirmed a case among a party of guests and have taken the decision to close until Friday.

No staff member has currently tested positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been detected in more Cork schools.

Parents of students at Coachford College received a text message from the principal on Tuesday afternoon, informing them that a case had been confirmed at the school.

The Echo understands the school is liaising with the HSE.

Douglas Community School in Cork city has also confirmed two cases of Covid-19.

In a HSE letter to parents it was indicated that the transmission link has been identified outside of the school. The two cases are also linked.

A public health risk assessment has been undertaken, according to the HSE who said that the parents of any children deemed to be close contacts of the confirmed cases have been contacted and advised accordingly.

New cases confirmed yesterday bring the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 33,444.

174 of the cases were in Dublin while the next highest number of cases were in Cork, with 34.

30 cases were in Kildare, 18 in Donegal, 10 in Galway and 10 in Louth, six cases in each of Clare, Mayo, Meath and Roscommon, five in Limerick, five in Waterford and the remaining 23 spread across 11 counties.

No new deaths were reported, leaving the total number of deaths at 1,792.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn.

55 cases were associated with community transmission and 53% were associated with outbreaks or were close contacts.

People aged 15 to 34 accounted for 40% of Covid-19 cases in the past two months, according to acting Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn who appealed to young people to continue following guidelines.

“For teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s in particular, I know that what has been, and is being asked of you again is extraordinary. This pandemic has impacted on your education, your employment your relationships and your social lives,” he said.

“But the disease is continuing to spread disproportionately among younger people at present. And so, I am asking you to stick with this and continue to follow the public health advice.”

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