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17 Aug 2022

Laois Covid rate highest in the country

Outbreak of Covid-19 at large Dundalk company

Laois has the highest 14 day Covid 19 incidence rate in the country, latest figures reveal.

The figures show an incidence rate of 735.6 per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. 

The statistics, which use the 2016 census population figures, reveal 623 people tested positive in the county in the past 14 days. The worrying figures put Laois’s incidence rate at the top of the table with Monaghan showing the lowest 14 day rate at 386 per 100,000. In total, 27, 951 cases have been recorded in the county since the pandemic began.   

In response to recent increases, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation(INMO) is now seeking a return to mask wearing in congregated areas.  

The INMO has called on the Government and HSE to take action in light of serious hospital overcrowding while COVID hospitalisations continue to increase.

It comes as 532 patients are without a bed in Irish hospitals today coupled with 1,035 COVID hospitalisations.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Yet again, we are seeing abnormally high trolley numbers today, with 532 patients for whom there are no beds. There has not been a day since June 3rd where there has been less than 400 people on trolleys. This is completely unacceptable at a time of year when overcrowding traditionally eases off.”

“It is impossible for our members to provide safe care when we are seeing huge numbers without beds in our hospitals coupled with high numbers of COVID hospitalisations.

“The Government must take certain steps to stem the worst of this crisis before the Dáil goes into recess later this week.”

“Nurses and midwives have four key asks:

1. Reintroduce mask wearing in indoor and congregated settings – While we fully expect there to be legislation in the autumn session, COVID does not wait for legislation to be drafted to be stopped. The Minister for Health must offer stronger advice on mask-wearing coupled with a public information campaign reminding everyone of the societal benefits of mask-wearing.

2. Bring back COVID screening upon arrival to all hospitals when patients present to ED or for same day admission for elective care – it makes little sense to us that only those who are symptomatic in hospitals are being tested, this is leading to cross contamination of the virus unnecessarily in our hospitals.

3. Boosters for healthcare workers – It has now been nine months since our members were first offered a booster. We are now asking that NIAC advice that nurses, midwives and all healthcare workers are offered an appropriate vaccine sooner rather than later.

4. Improve ventilation in healthcare settings – The overwhelming majority of COVID outbreaks currently occurring are in healthcare settings. Hospitals are not just places of care, they are workplaces. Our members are currently working in an unsafe environment where the air quality is sub-optimal.”

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Ms Ní Sheaghdha said:  “Our members are extremely burnt out and now many are once again becoming sick with COVID. The conditions they are working in are completely unsafe and demoralising for both healthcare workers and patients.”

"The Health and Safety Authority must act on the unsafe conditions are members are working in and patients are presenting to. The HSE has a duty to provide a safe environment for employees and patients and this just is not being adhered to in the vast majority of hospitals,” she added.

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