The HSE has confirmed that nine residents, aged between 66 and 84 years, died over the recent Bank Holiday Weekend at the Maryborough Centre for Psychiatry of Old Age residential centre, which is located in St Fintan's Campus, Portlaoise.
In a statement it said that eight of these residents had tested positive for Covid-19.
In a statement, the HSE said a further 17 people in the same facility are being treated as if they have the coronavirus.
The HSE expressed its sincere sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased.
The HSE said staff at the centre are in contact with the families of the deceased and are available for support and advice.
The Maryborough Centre for Psychiatry of Old Age is a recently refurbished unit with multiple occupancy rooms and is registered with the Mental Health Commission for 28 beds.
The HSE said care is provided by psychiatric consultant led multi-disciplinary teams. The residents of the centre are supported and cared for 24/7 by a dedicated team of nurses. All 17 residents who remain living at the facility are being managed as if Covid-19 positive regardless of test results or the presence of symptoms.
The HSE said Public Health Services have been working closely with the staff in the centre on a daily basis providing guidance and support. Public Health policy was followed daily regarding the cohorting of residents who tested positive.
A statement said a separate nursing roster cared for the residents who had no symptoms to ensure isolation, however this cohort are being managed as if positive but in an isolated area of the centre. Additional support and advice is being made available to the families of these remaining residents who are updated regularly.
The HSE said that while a number of staff are currently on sick leave, the current compliment of staff is sufficient to manage the centre. A number of additonal staff were redeployed to the Maryborough Centre in the week prior to Easter weekend following the diagnosis of Covid-19 in the resident group and to support their greater care needs. These staff included a number Clinical Nurse Specialists and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner from Laois Offaly mental health service, a Nurse Practice development Coordinator and other experienced nurse managers to provide support to the staff of Maryborough Centre.
The HSE said all residents have been medically reviewed by medical consultants from Portlaoise hospital. These medical consultants and a palliative care consultant continue to provide daily/as required intervention in conjunction with the consultant psychiatrist and nursing staff.
The statemrnt concluded that support was also provided by experts in Infection Prevention Control and Occupational Health.
"Occupational supports and debriefing are being offered to staff at the centre following these tragic deaths," said the HSE.
There are 118 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Laois. This represents 1% of cases nationally. However, the incidence has increased sharply in recent days.
A number of other people are understood to have fallen victim to the virus in Laois though the county by county breakdown is not made public by the health authorities.
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