06 Dec 2021

BREAKING: Outbreak of Covid-19 confirmed at University Hospital Limerick

UHL overcrowding and superbug combine to create fire safety problem 

A staff member and a patient at UHL have tested positive for Covid-19

AN Outbreak Control Team has been established at University Hospital Limerick after one patient and one member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement this Tuesday evening, the UL Hospitals Group confirmed that contact tracing and testing is currently underway and all appropriate infection prevention and control measures are being followed in line with the national HPSC guidance.

"A number of staff from the ward (3B) at the centre of what we believe to be a localised outbreak have been identified as contacts. They have been asked to stay off work and to self-isolate in line with national guidance.  Initial testing of all patient contacts is complete and has not identified further cases. Initial testing of all staff contacts is expected to be complete tomorrow, Wednesday, August 19," said a spokesperson.

All patients on the ward in question have been informed of the outbreak, which was confirmed this Tuesday.

Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer, UL Hospitals Group, said: “Hospitals have been preparing for these situations for many months and we have now established an Outbreak Control Team to put into operation our measures to protect the safety of patients and staff and to protect public health more generally. This is the first outbreak of Covid-19 to have occurred in UHL since the start of the pandemic. This is unfortunate but we have every reason to believe that this is a limited outbreak that is contained in the ward in question.”

Members of the public can assist by continuing to follow public health advice and to continuing to co-operate with the visiting restrictions across all six hospitals in the group.

The only exceptions to the visitor restrictions at UHL are as follows (with a strict limit of one visitor per patient):

·         Parents visiting children in hospital

·         People visiting patients at end-of-life

·         People assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)

The outbreak of Covid-19 at UHL comes at a time when emergency presentations to the emergency department have been exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

"The Emergency Department is very busy at present with high volumes of patients attending, including many frail elderly patients requiring admission. We again ask that patients consider all their care options before presenting to the department. Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s is open from 8am to 7pm. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. More information on our Injury Units is available here," said a spokesperson. 

Members of the public with a less serious illness can contact their GP or out of hours GP service.

Patients with symptoms of Covid-19 must contact their GP by phone in the first instance and not present in person at the GP surgery or the ED.

However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.

For detailed public health advice click here

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