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Nursing home staff who tested positive for Covid asked to continue working

A resident escaped from a nursing home for several hours during the Covid-19 visiting ban, according to a complaint made to HIQA.

It is claimed no measures were put in place to isolate them when they returned.

This is one of nearly 300 complaints the health watchdog has received about Covid issues in nursing homes.

It is also claimed some staff who tested positive for Covid-19, but had no symptoms, were asked to continue to work.

Dr Sarah Donnelly, an assistant professor in social work in UCD, says lessons must be learnt from the outbreaks in nursing homes.

"It's very important that the mistakes of the past are not repeated, we've had very strong reports previously like the Leas Cross report so there needs to be full implementation of the recommendations of the expert panel on nursing homes.

"We also know from frontline social workers that during the pandemic, these workers have continued to investigate very harrowing cases involving rape, physical abuse, financial abuse and neglect of residents in nursing homes."

Testing at nursing homes is one of the issues that will be discussed at an Oireachtas coronavirus committee today.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn will answer questions during three sittings of the committee today.