By Press Association
There are 335 outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term residential care homes.
HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor said 186 outbreaks were in private centres and 112 were at HSE providers.
At a briefing this afternoon, Ms O’Connor said 196 (or 59%) of outbreaks of COVID-19 are in nursing homes.
Ms O’Connor said everyone will be tested in a nursing home where there is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
“In a nursing home where there are confirmed cases, we will test everyone and that is something that was a clear requirement in terms of our capacity to track this and provide the most accurate data in terms of this epidemic.
“We have the National Ambulance Service deployed to do mobile testing in nursing homes on the basis of a suspicious case and that is continuing but we are now scaling up to be able to test all residents and staff in nursing homes where there are confirmed outbreaks.
“We know that people in nursing homes already do swabbing during flu season so we are going to be working with nursing homes so they can do more of their own swabbing.
Now that our laboratory capacity has increased, we are able to do more testing and to have those tests turned around more efficiently.
Chief clinical officer of the HSE Colm Henry said any decision to allow patients dying from COVID-19 to have a loved one by their side must be made with public health considerations in mind.
The Irish Hospice Foundation made the recommendation today.
IHF chief executive, Sharon Foley, said it is responding to concerns from many people and health care staff about a person dying alone in hospitals and nursing homes.
Dr Henry said NPHET will look at the recommendation.
He said: “Clearly we have to balance this with the public health interest.
“Each death is a tragedy, and this is an incurable illness, it doesn’t matter where you are. There is no treatment for this disease.”