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06th Jan 2022

Over 8,500 HSE staff are now on Covid leave

Hugh Carr

hse staff covid leave

17,756 cases of Covid were confirmed on Wednesday.

8,500 HSE staff are reportedly currently on Covid leave, with the actual number being possibly double that.

The staff shortages were shared by HSE CEO Paul Reid during a press conference on Thursday (6 January).

“So our judgement on it is that we could be at least 12.5% impact on staffing levels, and it could even be double the number we’re reporting on today, but the manual count of numbers we have is 8,500,” Reid said.

“To give you a scale of that, even within that 8,500, you are looking at over 3,000 nurses and midwives, over 1,500 staff who would be involved with patient and client care, almost 1,500 health and social care professionals, so this is real front line impact on us all overall.

“You’ll have heard in media reporting various hospitals saying they have up to 14-15% of staff out overall, so it’s been a very significant impact,” he added.

The Mater Hospital recently urged the public to avoid using its emergency department where possible.

In a statement, the hospital said its services are under “extreme pressure” on account of large numbers of people contracting Covid-19, high levels of staff unavailable due to being close contacts or infected with the virus, as well as high numbers of presentations at the emergency department.

University Maternity Hospital Limerick was forced to implement new and increased visitor restrictions and infection control measures after an outbreak of Covid at the inpatient wards in the past week.

“We expect to admit a number of women who have tested positive in the coming days and Covid-19 related staff absences are increasing across the health service,” the hospital said.

“An outbreak control team has been established and we wish to reassure patients and their loved ones that all appropriate infection control precautions are being followed to minimise the risk of spreading.”

Reid also touched on the huge demand for antigen tests in the country.

299,000 kits have been distributed for asymptomatic cases and close contacts, and 100,000 kits have been ordered for symptomatic 4-49 year olds.

17,756 cases of Covid were confirmed in Ireland on Wednesday (5 January).

Featured Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

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