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Worrying increase in the number of healthcare workers infected with Covid-19 - Louise O'Reilly TD

25 June, 2020 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has said that the reported recent spike in Covid-19 cases amongst healthcare workers is a cause for concern.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Over 32% of all Covid-19 cases recorded in this State since the start of the pandemic have been recorded amongst healthcare workers. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the International Council of Nurses have indicated that the infection rates among healthcare workers in this State are the highest in the world. 

“However, in what can only be considered a bid to save his government from criticism in their failing of our healthcare workers, the Taoiseach has tried to contradict the INMO and explain away the data around the huge levels of healthcare worker infection.

“An indication of how wrong the Taoiseach is has come via the failure of both the Minister for Health and the Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE to defend his nonsensical comments.

“Unfortunately, in the past few days healthcare workers have again become disproportionately infected with the virus.

“An analysis of data from the INMO indicates that more than half of recent Covid-19 cases are healthcare workers. Of the 88 new reported cases between the 13th-22nd of June, 47 (53%) were among healthcare workers.

“Resultantly, the INMO have called for the Health and Safety Authority to be authorised to investigate Covid-19 cases in workplaces.

“The Irish Congress of Trade Unions have also been to the fore of campaigning for this change and they have written to Minister Humphreys and to the Minister for Health on a number of occasions requesting this simple change; which can be done by amending regulations.

“At the stroke of a pen, Minister Humphreys could change this. Unfortunately, it appears that she is not disposed to making this change.

“As a result, I have been compelled to publish legislation to do just this - to make workplace outbreaks of Covid-19 notifiable to the Health and Safety Authority.

“If the Minister does not take the necessary steps to protect workers, then Sinn Féin will move this Bill in the Dáil as soon as possible.”

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