The CEO of the UL Hospitals Group is urging everyone in the Midwest to redouble their efforts and follow advice from public health officials to prevent further COVID-19 outbreaks at the region’s hospitals.
180 staff based at University Hospital Limerick and Ennis General are are off-duty, after testing positive or being identified as a close contact, but that number has fallen and Collette Cowan says they’ve now turned a corner in managing the outbreak.
It comes as NPHET has warned that the decline in Covid cases has stalled, prompting concern over whether level five restrictions will be lifted.
At one point, over 220 staff at University Hospital Limerick and Ennis General who tested positive for covid-19, or were identified as a close contact, were off duty.
But the CEO of the UL Hospitals Group says that number has fallen to 180 in the past two days, as some of these staff were able to return to work, and she expects the number to continue to fall.
A number of elective procedures have had to be cancelled, though all outpatient services and elective activity will be resuming again on Tuesday.
Collette Cowen says the public can now play its part in maintaining this positive trend by complying with COVID guidelines.
Nationally, health officials are warning that Ireland is at a critical juncture.
While Level 5 measures are due to last until the start of next month, the stalling in the fall-off in cases has caused concern.
The average number of cases over the last five days is just under 400, and the average number of close contacts has risen slightly.
HSE Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry, says there’s still time to reduce the spread of the virus before restrictions are due to be eased at the end of the month.
Separately, Colette Cowan has also expressed confidence that increased bed capacity will reduce overcrowding significantly at the region’s main hospital.
The new 60-bed modular unit will open in Dooradoyle on a phased basis from Monday.
Univeristy Hospital Limerick has historically suffered from the highest levels of overcrowding in the country, and this morning there were 69 people waiting on trolleys according to INMO figures.
Collette Cowan says that while this winter will be difficult to monitor, she’s hopeful UHL will no longer be at the top of the table, when it comes to overcrowding.