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22 Jan 2022

More than 100 staff at Limerick hospitals out of work due to Covid

Colette Cowan on steering UHL’s Covid response  - Part Two

THE CEO of the UL Hospitals Group has confirmed that more than 100 members of staff are currently out of work due to Covid-19.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, Colette Cowan said 66 people are 'on leave' this Wednesday in addition to the 38 vulnerable workers who are also absent.

"On average we have 40 to 50 staff on leave but today we have 66 staff out. We can also add to that 38 vulnerable workers so that's close to 100 staff or just over. What we are seeing with staff is a small number of positive cases with Covid because they are vaccinated. However the majority have symptoms and they are being tested and following policy and awaiting their results so there is a time-lag in that for them," she told the News at One.

Ms Cowan also revealed there are currently 36 Covid-positive inpatients being treated at UHL and that the hospital had to activate its surge plan at the weekend.

"We have 12 intensive care beds and we have 16 high dependency beds and last weekend we had to convert four of our high dependency beds into intensive care beds because double the staffing is required for intensive care patients and that was to enable the care of patients that are attending the emergency department that were Covid-positive," she stated confirmed that the surge plan was rolled back today.

"What we are trying to manage are the high levels of emergency demand through the emergency department against the background of managing Covid-19 and the surge that it requires into areas such as critical care and single-room isolation facilities," she explained.

Ms Cowan also told the programme that University Hospital Limerick has been dealing with a number of Covid-19 outbreaks over the past month.

"it is a constant cycle of management and we have assigned all of our clinical areas as risk areas and therefore we do have limitations of visiting to ensure that patients are safe. Definitely, the overcrowding risks are sharply in our focus and we have several pathways in place to ensure that we move at risk patients to single rooms in our new infrastructure that we have build over the last 18 months."

There has been a significant increase the paediatric attendances over the past fortnight and presentations at the emergency department are up by around 25%.

"The firewall is holding but we are now trying to manage both scheduled care and emergency care and the pandemic," said Ms Cowan.

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