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Covid-19 Outbreak At University Hospital Limerick

VISITOR restrictions have been introduced on two wards at University Hospital Limerick following an outbreak of Covid-19.

Contact tracing and testing of staff and patients is underway and staff are now, in line with the national guidance, putting into effect all the appropriate infection control measures to mitigate the risk to patients and staff.

Visiting on the two affected wards has now been restricted to compassionate grounds only and relatives and loved ones have been informed of same.

Visiting on other inpatient wards is unaffected and is facilitated by prior arrangement.

University Hospital Limerick is now facilitating scheduled timed visiting slots for in-patients and their visitors, during the hours of 2- to 4pm and 6 to 9pm daily.

These slots are coordinated by clinical nurse managers and ward clerks in consultation with patients and their families and loved ones.

These scheduled visiting slots are for inpatients only. The Emergency Department, Acute Surgical Assessment Unit, and Acute Medical Assessment Unit at UHL are not open to visitors.

UHL continue to facilitate parents visiting children, people visiting patients who are critically unwell or at end-of-life, and people assisting confused patients such as patients with dementia.

Children should not visit the hospital. Only one visitor per patient is allowed.

People should not visit the hospital if they have symptoms of Covid-19 like a high temperature, cough or shortness of breath.

Visitors will be temperature-checked on entry to all hospital sites, and will be required to wear a face mask, observe hand hygiene, and undertake a Covid-19 questionnaire.

UHL are appealing to members of the public not to visit their relatives/loved ones outdoors on the grounds of the hospital as this can also present a Covid-19 transmission risk.

Infection prevention and control measures do present challenges to patient flow. However, the addition of improved single room inpatient accommodation at UHL has enhanced our ability to isolate and cohort patients across the site. The number of inpatient beds currently blocked for reasons of infection control is minimal, and the numbers of patients waiting for an inpatient bed at present simply reflects the sustained significant demand on hospitals across the country.

The Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick remains exceptionally busy. High volumes of attendances, including many frail elderly patients with complex medical conditions who require admission, have continued over several weeks now. In the last seven days, attendances at the ED in UHL have averaged 240 per day, compared to 195 in the last full year prior to the pandemic. The 282 patients who presented over the 24-hour period last Friday is one of the highest figures ever seen at UHL.

 

Dan Danaher

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