Letterkenny University Hospital is increasing its number of ICU beds to deal with an expected surge in Covid-19 patients
A hospital-wide screening programme of staff at Letterkenny University Hospital is underway after there were 68 Covid-19 cases among workers last week.
A further 54 staff members were off work last Friday, November 27, because they were symptomatic or a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19, the HSE has said.
Management has implemented a screening programme as it struggles to contain the outbreak of the virus which started at the beginning of last month.
The hospital has the highest number of cases in the country and 38 confirmed cases were being treated at the hospital on Tuesday night.
The Saolta University Health Care Group said on Wednesday that the outbreak is having a significant impact on the provision of elective, day case and outpatient services.
Hospital Manager Sean Murphy said the voluntary screen programme is a really important measure to help to manage the outbreak.
“Given the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community in Donegal and the high number of confirmed cases among our staff we have decided to implement a hospital-wide COVID-19 screening programme,” he said.
“This will apply to staff who are not currently being screened as part of the current outbreak management process. We believe that this is a really important measure to help to manage this outbreak and in particular, it will help us identify staff who may not be experiencing any symptoms but may have Covid-19.”
While the screening programme is voluntary, he said it was hoped all staff will participate in it, he said.
“The process of contacting staff and arranging for testing began this week. We believe it is a very important step in our on-going efforts to end this outbreak. It is important to note that we have had on-going staff screening programmes in place over the last number of weeks but these were until now, targeting staff in wards and departments associated with the outbreak. We are now extending our testing hospital-wide in an effort to potentially identify staff who may have no symptoms but may have the Covid-19 infection.
“The last number of months have been very challenging for staff in Letterkenny University Hospital as the hospital manages outbreaks of Covid-19 amongst staff. I want to acknowledge the commitment and support of the staff in LUH in maintaining patient care at this time and I want to assure you that we are doing all we can to get through this as quickly as we can, including recruiting additional staff at the hospital. We hope that all of the measures we are implementing will enable us to return to providing a full range of services to our patients as quickly as possible.
“We know the incidence of Covid-19 is very high in the community in County Donegal and on behalf of LUH, I cannot emphasise enough how critical it is for all of us to follow the HSE’s public health advice.”
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