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Situation in Limerick is deteriorating despite the Level 5 restrictions; COVID-19 proliferates among hospital staff and the general public alike

Limerick: There are no signs of a decrease in the rate of virus infection in Limerick, despite the level five restrictions. The situation is further complicated by the fact that COVID-19, along with the general public, affects health workers. As of 8pm last night, 41 COVID cases were confirmed here.

Following the outbreak, the hospital authorities are preparing to conduct a group test on the hospital staff. The test is being conducted on 3,000 employees under the University Hospital Limerick group.

The 188 staff at various hospitals in the group are on off-duty and self-isolation after being found to be COVID-19 victims or closely associated with positive cases. The Chief Clinical Director of UL Hospitals Group, Professor Brian Lenehan confirmed this.

As the situation worsened, the reductions in the care schedule at University Hospital (UHL) Limerick and Ennis Hospital were extended for another week. The majority of all regular outpatient appointments and elective procedures have been canceled until November 20th. Indications are that this will continue. Patients are notified directly of the cancellation of their appointments.

Six wards at UHL are closed to admissions. Only emergency treatment, cancer and palliative care operate as normal. COVID and non-COVID special sections operate. There is also a system for resolving COVID-19 related queries. The emergency department at UHL operates 24/7. An injury unit and medical assessment unit at Ennis Hospital continue to operate.

COVID outbreak control teams have been set up at both hospitals. Officials said they are following all HPSC guidelines to keep patients and staff safe. Contact tracing and testing of staff and patients continues. Officials said all appropriate infection control measures have been put in place to mitigate the risk.

Other hospitals in the group, including St John’s Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, University Maternity Hospital Limerick and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, are operating normally, a spokesperson said.

Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said the company is dealing with a complex situation involving multiple outbrakes.  

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