OUTBREAK control teams have been called up and visitor restrictions put in place at both University Hospital Limerick and St John’s Hospital in Limerick City, following an outbreak of Covid-19.
A spokesman for UL Hospitals Group (ULHG), responsible for both hospitals, confirmed that there have been 35 Covid-positive cases detected at UHL as of Tuesday of this week, along with a number of cases which were detected in St John’s at the end of last week.
It is not known at this time whether the patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been infected with the new Eris strain of the virus. Further laboratory tests are to be completed in the coming days.
The ULHG spokesman said that cases of Covid-19 in St John’s Hospital are being managed in the inpatient wards at the hospital.
“These are being monitored daily by our nursing teams and Infection Prevention and Control staff, and we have increased the use of surgical masks as advised in these locations.
“In managing this outbreak, we have also restricted visiting to protect patients, staff and visitors. Visiting may be granted on compassionate grounds at the ward manager’s discretion,” he said.
Meanwhile, there were 35 Covid-positive patients at UHL as of Tuesday of this week, the “vast majority of these patients are appropriately isolated or cohorted across our inpatient wards”, the spokesman confirmed.
“Any patient who is identified as Covid-positive in our Emergency Department will be managed by our nursing and medical staff in consultation with our infection prevention control and microbiology teams to minimise risk of onward transmission.”
Outbreak control teams have been convened across UL Hospitals Group to manage increasing levels of Covid-19 activity in the community and in healthcare settings. Covid-19 outbreaks are being managed on a number of inpatient wards at UHL.
The spokesman said that visiting at UHL is currently under daily review.
“Co-operation with the hospital visiting policy is urged at this time. Relatives and loved ones of hospital inpatients are asked to continue booking visits through the UL Hospitals Group Visitor App, available online at ULHGVisitor.com, which allows quick and convenient booking of a time slot within the visiting hours on all hospital sites.
“Visitors are urged to co-operate with any advice from staff around local restrictions, hand hygiene, masks, and other precautions.
The new variant (Eris) is established in the UK and US, and has been detected in Ireland. It is more transmissible than previous circulating variants and has been associated with outbreaks, including in hospitals, in Ireland and elsewhere.
There is currently no evidence of increased clinical severity of infection but people are still advised to follow Covid-19 prevention measures.