THERE has been a 20% hike in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 being treated in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), which is now the highest in the country, writes Dan Danaher.
As of January 19, there were 84 confirmed cases of the virus being treated in UHL, which was the highest in the country. This compared to 74 in Galway University Hospital, 56 in the Mater, 50 in St Vincent’s Hospital and 46 in Connolly.
A week earlier there had been 70 confirmed cases of Covid-19 being treated in UHL, which was the second highest in the country after Galway University Hospital on 78.
Nine of the confirmed cases in UHL were being treated in ICU and there was no spare intensive care bed on this day. UHL was also treating 27 suspected cases of the virus last week.
UHL is also treating 20 suspected cases of the virus, which is the second highest in the country. St James Hospital was providing care for 75 suspected cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday January 19, there are 255 whole time equivalent healthcare workers absent from work across the six hospitals for reasons connected with the virus. This accounts for 5% of the Group’s WTE staff total of 4,974.
The figure includes staff who are Covid-positive, staff who are close contacts, staff who are symptomatic and staying at home in line with public health guidance, those awaiting the results of Covid-19 tests, and workers who are vulnerable to Covid-19 and must remain off-site for their own safety.
UL Hospitals’ Group stated it regrets to announce visiting restrictions at University Hospital Limerick as it manages an outbreak of Covid-19.
Three wards are currently affected; however, as a precautionary measure, the group are now restricting visiting on all inpatient wards at UHL. Restrictions on visits to the Emergency Department, Acute Surgical Assessment Unit, and Acute Medical Assessment Unit at UHL also remain in force.
The group regret any inconvenience this visiting ban causes for patients and their loved ones. Their outbreak control team has convened and hospital management has decided it is now necessary to impose these measures in the interests of patient safety and keeping essential services open for all our patients.
The group wish to reassure patients and their loved ones that all appropriate infection control precautions are being followed to minimise the risk of spreading infection among staff and patients within our health facilities, and also within the wider community.
The only exceptions to the visiting ban are parents visiting children in hospital; people assisting confused patients such as dementia on a case-by-case basis, and
people visiting patients who are critically unwell or at end of life. All these exemptions are limited to one person per patient only.
The group are also 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.