Concern over Covid-19 clusters in nursing homes

Concern over Covid-19 clusters in nursing homes
03/04/2020 Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health,and Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, pictured this evening at a Covid -19 update press conference at the Department of Health.....Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The National Public Health Emergency Team met today to review the latest information about the spread of Covid-19.

Issues around the testing backlog, protecting staff and patients in nursing homes and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers were discussed.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said the Department was “concerned” with the number of clusters identified in nursing homes.

“We have identified a range of measures, working with the HSE. We need to see continuous actions being taken to reduce the risk of transmission in nursing homes and long-term residential facilities.” Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said that the new measures put in place by the government have been a “tough adjustment” but that the public’s efforts in adhering to these measures will save lives.

He said that members of the public will continue to protect vulnerable groups against the virus by staying home and following public health advice.

He advised people over the age of 70 to continue to cocoon and not to leave their homes.

“Anyone over 70 years of age should remain cocooned as per public health advice, and for essential food and prescription shopping, call on family, friends or services to help you. Over 70’s should not be leaving home.” Clinical Chief Officer at the HSE, Dr Colm Henry, said there is a “clear picture” now of a more severe illness in older people and said it underlines the importance of advice from officials relating to cocooning.

He said that vulnerable people who find themselves in isolation require “all of us” to support them.

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