Skellig Star lacking basic disease control measures weeks after outbreak
Rooms were cleaned without disinfectant and used linens were stored in the stairwell.
An audit carried out at the Skellig Star Hotel Direct Provision centre in late April showed that over half of the basic requirements for disease control were not being met, despite an ongoing outbreak of Covid-19 in the centre.
Residents of the Skellig Star Hotel are currently in their third day of a hunger strike in protest at what they describe as "inhumane" living conditions in the centre.
105 residents were transferred from multiple Direct Provision centres to the Skellig Star in Cahersiveen in mid-March, in order to facilitate social distancing among asylum seekers during the pandemic.
In line with public health guidance at the time, residents were not tested prior to transfer and a cluster of around 25 cases subsequently broke out in the Skellig Star. and a cluster of around 25 cases subsequently broke out in the Skellig Star.
An inspection undertaken by an infectious disease nurse on 28 April, two weeks after the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Skellig Star, shows that a number of basic disease control measures were still not in place in the centre.
The report was obtained, among other documents, by the Fáilte Group Cahersiveen under the Freedom of Information Act.
Among the failings in the centre were a lack of adequate signage, no enforcing of social distancing, staff not wearing correct PPE and residents not wearing required surgical masks correctly.
There were also issues with the storing of used linen, including from the rooms of infected residents, which according to the report were stored in the stairwell. Some bags were also left open, with used linen "spilling out".
There were also significant shortcomings in basic cleaning of the hotel, with no documentation of cleaning of communal areas, no procedure on how to clean and disinfect rooms and incorrect products used in the cleaning of infected rooms. The report says alcohol gel was used for cleaning, and no detergent or disinfectant was used.
Residents have been appealing to the Department of Justice to move them from the accommodation to other centres since the outbreak in April, with calls intensifying this week after residents began a hunger strike on Tuesday.