Letter blaming Direct Provision residents for spread of virus issued by local Department of Public Health
The letter blamed residents for the continued Covid-19 outbreak.
The HSE have this evening confirmed to JOE that a letter issued to Direct Provision residents in Cahersiveen last Friday was from the local Department of Public Health.
The letter, issued to asylum seekers at the Skellig Star Hotel centre, appeared to blame the residents for the continued outbreak of the virus. Residents have claimed that they are simply unable to follow the social distancing guidelines issued due to their living arrangements.
Their had been some confusion as to whether the letter had originated from the HSE, as it was not on letterheaded paper nor was it signed by any specific person.
In a statement issued to JOE in the last hour, the HSE confirmed the veracity of the letter; "We can confirm that the letter you mention was issued by the Department of Public Health locally. In any confirmed outbreak of Covid-19, consultants from the Department of Public Health are involved in an Outbreak Control Team and provide advice on the necessary control measures that must be put in place to manage the outbreak.
"Where there are outbreaks in residential facilities which are not under our control (including direct provision centres), the local Department of Public Health gives clear advice to both the management and the residents of the centres to support them in responding appropriately."
— Rob O'Hanrahan (@RobOHanrahan) May 12, 2020
The HSE were keen to stress that the advice contained in the letter did not differ from standard public health advice; The advice given to any resident who is confirmed to have Covid-19, or who is a close contact of a confirmed case is consistent, and is the same as the advice given to any member of the public.
"In any case where someone has tested positive for Covid-19, they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days (the last five days without a fever)... The advice on self-isolating outlined in the letter is the same advice given to any member of the public who has tested positive or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive."
At the Department of Health briefing on Friday, it was confirmed to JOE that all Direct Provision residents can avail of the self-isolating facility at City West, regardless of their current location. Residents have claimed that this has not proven to be the case.
"Our aim at all times is to ensure that the importance of self-isolation is made clear to anyone confirmed to have Covid-19, and their close contacts, as this is key to bringing any outbreak under control", the statement concludes.