FIVE patients attending hospitals in Limerick and Clare have tested positive for coronavirus, the UL Hospitals Group has confirmed this evening.
A spokesman for the Group, which operates six hospitals in the mid west, confirmed four positive cases of the virus among patients in University Hospital Limerick, and one in Ennis Hospital, Co Clare.
“In terms of the total number of cases around UL Hospitals Group in general, there are currently four positive patients in UHL and one in Ennis Hospital,” a UL Hospitals Group spokesman said.
There were no known cases of the virus at the Group’s four other hospitals, University Maternity Hospital Limerick; St John’s Hospital, Limerick; Croom Orthopeadic Hospital, Limerick; Nenagh Hospital, Tipperary.
Last Tuesday the Group confirmed it had established an “outbreak control team” at UHL “after one patient and one member of staff on Ward 3B tested positive for Covid-19”.
This evening, a spokesman confirmed that “all contacts are followed up in line with national guidance”.
“All contacts have now been tested and no new positive cases have been detected since Wednesday. All appropriate infection prevention and control measures are in place,” they added.
The staff member concerned has been isolating at home.
Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer, UL Hospitals Group, said the public could assist the hospital deal with the outbreak by “continuing to follow public health advice and to continuing to co-operate with the visiting restrictions across all six of our hospitals”.
The only exceptions to the visitor restrictions (with a strict limit of one visitor per patient) at UHL are:
· Parents visiting children in hospital
· People visiting patients at end-of-life
· People assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)
The Group said the “outbreak” at UHL “comes at a time when emergency presentations to the ED in UHL have been exceeding pre-pandemic levels”.
Today UHL was the most overcrowded hospital in the country with 51 patients on trolleys, including 27 on trolleys in the ED and 24 on wards.
Injury units for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds, and minor burns, in Ennis and Nenagh in Tipperary are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s Hospital in Limerick is open from 8am to 7pm.
“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,” the spokesman added.