Creche forced to manage own contact tracing after HSE cyberattack

It was 36 hours before anyone from the HSE’s public health department contacted the creche about the positive Covid case.
Creche forced to manage own contact tracing after HSE cyberattack

A north Co Dublin creche owner had to carry out her own contact tracing of close contacts of a Covid-19 infected staff member due to the HSE cyberattack.

The Dublin woman, who did not want the childcare facility identified, told The Irish Times that a staff member tested positive early on Tuesday. However, it was 36 hours before anyone from the HSE’s public health department contacted her about the case.

“When we finally got to speak to somebody, it was late on Wednesday evening and basically they told us that they couldn’t contact anybody because of the hack,” she said.

The close family contacts of the infected staff member were contacted by the HSE’s contact tracers but the creche owner said she had to contact the parents and other staff. Two-thirds of the 45 children at the creche were deemed to be close contacts of the staff member.

The HSE’s national lead for testing and contract tracing, Niamh O’Beirne, told The Irish Times this was “an isolated case”, adding that the health official involved in handling it may not have understood “the workaround process” put in place in the aftermath of the cyberattack.

Public health doctors were having to work without an IT system, she said.

All routine contact tracing was functioning and there were “workarounds” in place “for communicating and managing complex cases such as creches, schools and workplaces”.

“Since last Tuesday, all education referrals are back to being automated appointments for day zero and day 10 tests,” she said.

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