An Outbreak Control Team has been established at University Hospital Limerick after one patient and one member of staff on Ward 3B tested positive for Covid-19 today.
Contact tracing and testing is currently underway and all appropriate infection prevention and control measures are being followed in line with the national HPSC guidance. A number of staff from the ward at the centre of what we believe to be a localised outbreak have been identified as contacts. They have been asked to stay off work and to self-isolate in line with national guidance. Initial testing of all patient contacts is complete and has not identified further cases. Initial testing of all staff contacts is expected to be complete tomorrow, Wednesday, August 19th.
All patients on the ward in question have been informed of the outbreak.
Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer, UL Hospitals Group, said: “Hospitals have been preparing for these situations for many months and we have now established an Outbreak Control Team to put into operation our measures to protect the safety of patients and staff and to protect public health more generally. This is the first outbreak of Covid-19 to have occurred in UHL since the start of the pandemic. This is unfortunate but we have every reason to believe that this is a limited outbreak that is contained in the ward in question.”
Members of the public can assist by continuing to follow public health advice and to continuing to co-operate with the visiting restrictions across all six of our hospitals.
The only exceptions to the visitor restrictions at UHL are as follows (with a strict limit of one visitor per patient):
- Parents visiting children in hospital
- People visiting patients at end-of-life
- People assisting confused patients (e.g. dementia)
This outbreak occurs at a time when emergency presentations to the ED in UHL have been exceeding pre-pandemic levels. The Emergency Department is very busy at present with high volumes of patients attending, including many frail elderly patients requiring admission. We again ask that patients consider all their care options before presenting to the department.
Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s is open from 8am to 7pm. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns. More information on our Injury Units is available here.
Members of the public with a less serious illness can contact their GP or out of hours GP service.
Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for getting COVID-19:
Distance – the risk of getting COVID-19 increases as the distance between you and others gets smaller. Keep 2 metres apart where possible
Activity – How you spend time with people and what you do with them can increase your risk. Follow the government’s Stay Safe Guidelines when spending time with others
Time – The more time you spend in close contact with other people can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Keep track of who you spend time with and how
Environment – Being outdoors is safer than being indoors. Where possible, meet with others outdoors. If this is not possible, keep windows and doors open when meeting others inside
Symptoms – Know the symptoms. If you have them self-isolate and contact your GP immediately
Know the symptoms of COVID-19
– a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
– shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
– flu like symptoms