Taoiseach Micheal Martin said yesterday that he will provide any resources needed to alleviate the current situation at Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) where an estimated 150 staff are currently on sick leave, all directly or indirectly related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said it also gave a context to why the current restrictions are in place at present.
133 staff were off duty at Letterkenny University Hospital last Friday as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but this number has now increased, it is understood.
The matter was raised by Donegal Sinn Fein Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn in the Dail,sitting in the National Convention Centre, yesterday.
He appealed with Taoiseach Martin and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to what was an "an unprecedented crisis" at the hospital and that "every possible additional resource be deployed to the hospital".
49 staff had Covid-19, with others self isolating because they are vulnerable or have been close contacts with confirmed cases. 54 are members of the nursing staff.
It also emerged in figures given to the Donegal Deputy that 120 staff at LUH have contracted Covid-19 since March.
Deputy MaLochlainn has also spoken briefly with Dr Colm Henry, the HSE's Chief Clinical Officer, on the matter.
The Taoiseach, in reply, told Deputy MacLochlainn that this "illustrates what the damage of Covid-19 can do".
He added: "And that is why we have restrictions. And it's worth reflecting on the impact it can have on hospital services. Hospitals have had to postpone non essential hospital services because of the spread of Covid amongst hospital staff.
"That's unfortunately, a reality.
"We will do everything we possibly can, to provide every resource we can to Letterkenny. Let there be no doubt about that. Anything that has to be done, will be done and likewise with any other hospital across the country.
"But I think that it is an important point to make is that as we consider easing of restrictions, they are there for a reason and when you get very high levels of community transmission of the virus, it does find its way into hospitals and it finds it way into nursing homes and that is the context of the restrictions."
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