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    Stockpile PPE before second wave hits — IMO

    Rate of Covid-19 infection in all HCWs ‘a matter of huge concern’

    The leader of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has advised the Irish Government to stockpile supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect healthcare workers (HCWs) from the impact of a second wave of Covid-19.

    Dr Padraig McGarry was speaking after the Irish Medical Times (IMT) reported yesterday (June 17) that almost 500 doctors in Ireland have been diagnosed with the virus since the first case was detected in this country in early March.

    Figures supplied by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to IMT showed that out of 8,123 HCWs diagnosed with the virus, 491 were practising doctors, 2,637 were nurses, and 2,097 were healthcare assistants.

    The disease — which has been linked to more than 1,700 deaths here to date — has struck at all levels of the HSE, with the health service also confirming that 90 porters have tested positive. Allied HCWs, which include physiotherapists, radiographers, speech and language therapists, administration staff, catering, and domestic staff, accounted for 1,898 of confirmed cases among all HCWs.

    The role of almost 12 per cent of the total (910) was listed as ‘unknown’, however.

    Responding to the figures, Dr McGarry said the rate of infection not only in doctors but in all HCWs was “a matter of huge concern”.

    “It is critical that the HSE and the Government further investigate the reasons for the high rate and what mitigating measures should be put in place,” he said.

    “The issues around PPE were of huge concern to medical professionals in the early days of the pandemic and there is no doubt that supply was inadequate and the standard of the equipment was not consistent so we need at an absolute minimum guarantees that sufficient supplies of high quality PPE are in place in preparation for an expected second wave,” Dr McGarry continued.

    There has now been a total of 1,710 Covid-19-related deaths in Ireland after the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed yesterday evening that another three people with the virus have died.

    The number of people diagnosed with the virus increased by eight, the HPSC also said, and that there was now a total of 25,341 confirmed cases in Ireland.

    In a statement last night, Dr Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) was meeting today “to continue its review of Ireland’s ongoing response and preparedness to Covid-19”.

    “NPHET’s advice in relation to rephasing of the Roadmap to Reopening Society and Business will be reviewed, in the context of ongoing suppression of the disease in the community and overall compliance with public health measures,” he added.

    Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn said that the Covid-19 recovery rate of 92 per cent showed measures to suppress the spread of the virus were working, with indicators such as the reproductive number, hospital admissions and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions either stable or moving in the right direction.

    “This is good news that has been achieved through the collective efforts of every person who has followed public health advice,” he added.

    The latest date from the HPSC also showed that of midnight June 15, when there were 25,333 cases, 57 per cent of people diagnosed with the virus were female and 43 per cent male.

    The median age of confirmed cases was 48 years, some 3,278 cases (13%) have been hospitalised, while 8,144 cases were associated with HCWs.

    Of those hospitalised, 417 cases have been admitted to ICU.

    Dublin has the highest number of cases at 12,235 (48% of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,535 cases (6%) and then Kildare with 1,435 cases (6%).

    Of those for whom transmission status was known, community transmission accounted for 37 per cent, close contact for 60 per cent, and travel abroad
    accounts for 2 per cent.

    peter.doyle@imt.ie

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