Coronavirus / Covid-19 restrictions extended to Dublin & Midlands hospitals
The coronavirus Covid-19 has forced health authorities to ask the public not to visit patients at Leinster hospitals in Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Offaly which are overseen by the HSE's Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.
Restrictions came into force Saturday evening, March 7 and will continue into next week. They will be kept under review as efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus continue.
The hospitals in the group are Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Naas General Hospital, St Luke's Hospital, Rathgar, Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, Tallaght University Hospital and St James's Hospital. More details about what the HSE is asking of the public below graphic.
The HSE said in a statement that the restrictions are being put in place due to infection control measures and to protect patients and staff.
“We are asking the public not to visit the hospital other than end of life situations and other exceptional circumstances as agreed with the ward manager in advance of visiting. To arrange a visit, families should telephone the hospital and request to speak to the relevant ward manager who will decide if a visit can be facilitated without compromising the welfare of the patients on the ward. Children in particular should not visit patients in hospital.
“We recognise that the visiting restrictions may be challenging for patients and their families, however, our priority must be to protect the patients in the hospital who are vulnerable to infection. We would like to thank members of the public for their co-operation,” said the statement.
One more case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Ireland on Saturday by the National Public Health Emergency Team. It involves a male in the east of the country who returned from Italy.
It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland to 19 by lunchtime on Saturday.
Testing of patients in Northern Ireland has resulted in three new cases on Saturday bringing the total to seven since testing began in the six counties. More below poster.
The Department of Health said on Saturday that it is working rapidly to identify any contacts the latest confirmed infected patient may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
The Department said the National Public Health Emergency Team met on Saturday 7 March, to consider guidance from the Expert Advisory Group on managing healthcare workers who are close contacts of a confirmed case.
It said this guidance was developed in light of the recent diagnosis of COVID-19 in a patient hospitalised in Cork University Hospital, which has led to a significant number of close contacts with healthcare workers.
Dr Cillian de Gascun, Chair of the Expert Advisory Group, said:
"There is a risk to patients of acquiring COVID-19 from an exposed health care worker. However, if a health facility cannot be staffed safely to provide critical services, then the following guidance to mitigate risk will assist:
- Health care workers who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have developed symptoms should be excluded from work
- Health care workers who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have NOT developed symptoms, AND are deemed to be essential workers, may work, provided they observe strict adherence to infection prevention and control precautions, and undergo twice daily active monitoring by occupational health, for 14 days after contact with a confirmed case of COVID19."
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, spoke after today’s National Public Health Emergency Team meeting.
"COVID-19, as with other infectious diseases, creates risk to patient care in two ways - the risk of transmission from an infected health care worker and the risk of serious impact on patient care by loss of significant numbers of essential staff.
"The National Public Health Emergency Team has decided to adopt the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group, to be implemented in Cork University Hospital and Limerick Hospital immediately."
A statement said HSE senior management met with staff in the affected hospitals, offering guidance and support.
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer in the HSE, also commented.
"Healthcare workers are at the frontline of this virus outbreak. The Department of Health and the HSE are equally dedicated to protecting and supporting this vital group of people, along with ensuring patient care," he said.
More about the cornonavirus from the HSE
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to show.
Symptoms may include:
shortness of breath
fever (high temperature)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can also cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Things you can do to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) include:
wash your hands properly and regularly
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze
Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub:
after coughing and sneezing
after toilet use
before and after preparing food
Got a question? Callsave the HSE at 1850 24 1850
Phone: 041 6850300
Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 5pm