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Nearly 30,000 Irish health workers have infected with COVID-19, resulting in 17 deaths; HSA investigates workplace fatalities

DUBLIN: The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is investigating deaths of healthcare workers who may have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace. The HSA is aware of 17 deaths in the healthcare sector, and investigations into those deaths are ongoing, according to an HSA spokesperson.

The HSA, which is in charge of investigating workplace fatalities and accidents, has confirmed that the incidents will be investigated but will not comment on any specific cases or employers involved.

According to data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), over 28,500 healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There were 775 hospitalisations and 101 ICU admissions among these healthcare workers, with 17 of them resulting in death. The age range of the deceased was 30 to 65 years.

However, the HPSC data shows that not all infections were contracted in the workplace; 40% were acquired in the healthcare setting, 25% were infected by a close contact, 16% were infected through community transmission. In 17% of cases, it is not known how the virus spread.

Nurses and healthcare assistants accounted for 49% of all infected healthcare workers between late November last year and mid-April this year. However, the infection rate among healthcare and frontline workers has decreased since vaccines began to roll out.

Last summer, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced a compensation scheme for the families of healthcare workers, who died from COVID-19. But details of the scheme have not yet been announced.

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