88% of healthcare workers who developed Covid-19 contracted the virus at work

Seven healthcare workers in Ireland have died from the virus

Healthcare workers most at risk to Covid-19 transmission

88% of healthcare workers who contracted Covid-19 got the virus in a healthcare setting as staff

Of the healthcare workers that developed Covid-19, 88% received the infection at work, new figures show.

The figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), which were presented to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, show 88% got the virus in a healthcare setting as staff, 4% received it from contact with a confirmed case, 3% became infected from travel, 3% contracted it from a community transmission and 1% from a healthcare setting as patients.

Of the 8,018 cases of infected healthcare workers in the figures, which turn up to May 30, 2,551 are under investigation without a known source of transmission. Those cases are 32% of all healthcare worker cases and not included in the above percentages.

Healthcare workers make up a third of all COVID positive cases in Ireland with nurses making up a third of those – the largest single group of workers infected.

As of May 30, seven healthcare workers have died from the virus, 1,515 (19%) have recovered, and 4,823 are still ill (60%). 20% of cases have a currently unknown status.

The INMO says it has repeatedly called for these figures to be released. Following a meeting this week with the minister for health, the union has received a commitment that they will be published weekly.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “One in three COVID-19 cases are healthcare workers. One in ten are nurses. And these figures show the vast majority have caught the virus at work.

“This figure cannot simply be accepted as normal. We need to tighten procedures and test more to ensure that frontline staff don’t get the virus they are fighting. This isn’t just about PPE, it’s about policy too.

“The government should classify this as what it is: a workplace-acquired personal injury. This would not only reflect reality but ensure that the full range of health and safety rules would be rolled out to protect frontline workers.”

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