A hospital in south Dublin is dealing with a significant case of coronavirus after 22 patients tested positive, with many staff also self-isolating awaiting test results.
St Columcille Hospital, Loughlinstown, confirmed to The Irish Times that several patients contracted Covid-19 following an outbreak at the facility.
The case has been traced to a patient on a ward who was initially unresponsive, later developed symptoms and then tested positive for Covid-19.
St Columcille Hospital is an acute hospital with over 100 beds serving south-east Dublin and east Wicklow.
“There are currently 22 patients with Covid-19 that resulted from a hospital outbreak,” said a spokesman for the Eastern Ireland Hospital Group.
“A patient who was disproportionate on a hospital ward developed symptoms and was subsequently tested for Covid-19,” he said.
“The surveillance process was immediately implemented by the infection control and microbiology teams and all patients and staff who were considered to be close contacts were subsequently tested,” the spokeswoman said.
“Many staff who have been in close contact with patients have been swabbed for Covid and are currently self-isolating as outlined by Covid-19 safety tracking and contact protocols,” the statement said.
It is understood that some staff at the hospital have expressed concerns about the initial management of cases, and the possible transfer between different wards.
The hospital’s injuries unit, medical assessment unit, and outpatient services remain open and have not been affected by the outbreak, the spokeswoman said.
“The Hospital Covid Cases Committee, led and steered by our consultant microbiologist, hospital infection prevention and control team, hospital consultants, HSE occupational health and HSE public health department has met daily since the cases and the progress made to stabilize the situation, ”the spokesman said.
Speaking on Thursday at a briefing from the Health Service Executive (HSE), Professor Martin Cormican, national lead for healthcare-associated infection and antimicrobial resistance, said the number of patients acquiring Covid-19 hospitals have increased in recent weeks.
There were 38 cases where patients received Covid-19 while in hospital the week ending November 1st, and this had increased to 100 patients in the week ending November 8th.
Speaking at the briefing, Professor Cormican said that preventing the spread of infection in hospitals is “always difficult,” because the nature of the setting requires “intense person-to-person interaction”.
“When a hospital gets a case you can get a large number of cases in a very short period of time. We know Letterkenny, Limerick and Naas have been struggling with big cases and so the numbers went up quite quickly, ”he said.
Earlier this month a number of Covid-19 outbreaks at University Hospital Limerick and Ennis Hospital, Co Clare led to the cancellation of all routine outpatient appointments, and the majority of elective procedures.