30 Nov 2021

All residents of St Joseph's Care Centre in Longford are well and free of Covid-19, HSE confirms

Staff member at the facility is understood to have presented with a temperature last week

All residents of St Joseph's Care Centre in Longford are well and free of Covid-19, HSE confirms

The HSE has today confirmed that all patients at St Joseph's Care Centre are "well and remain free from Covid symptoms".

Concerns were raised regarding the safety and health of residents at the facility this week, following reports that a member of the staff at the facility had tested positive for Covid-19.

"Care of the residents in St Joseph's Care Centre, Longford, is the priority for all the nursing and care staff who work there," read a statement from the HSE to the Leader this afternoon.

"St Joseph's Care Centre have consulted with and complied with all Public Health advice in relation to the management of Covid. All residents are well and remain free from Covid symptoms at this time."

Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District, Cllr Peggy Nolan also confirmed to the Leader with "101% certainty" that the residents of the facility are completely safe and well and was quick to reassure members of the public that there is nothing to be concerned about at this time.

"All patients are okay," she told the Leader this afternoon.

"It appears there was concerns there was a case of Covid-19 confirmed among the staff, but I can tell you with 101% certainty that there is no Covid among the patients."

The HSE stated that it cannot comment on individual cases of outbreaks of Covid-19, as to do so would breach the duty of confidentiality to individuals concerned, and could therefore not confirm that the staff member had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

There have been reports that the staff member and several others who were in close contact with them have been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

"There were concerns that somebody presented with a temperature. I can't confirm that. All I can confirm is the patients are okay," said Cllr Nolan.

"This is a case of something getting legs and running away and people are very concerned. But there definitely isn't Covid-19 among the patients," she reassured.

"Everything that the HSE has put in place has been adhered to and staff have their temperatures taken. They have now restricted visits to the area where a staff member presented with a high temperature. But there was no danger of any patient ever getting Covid."

The HSE has also confirmed to the Leader that staff at St Joseph's are doing everything they can to ensure Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to at the facility and that visiting restrictions have only been introduced to one part of the Care Centre.

"There are no visiting restrictions applying to St Joseph’s Community Care Centre at this time apart from The Lodge - a separate unit at the rear of St Joseph’s - where visiting is restricted to one person per resident. All relatives concerned have been notified," a spokesperson confirmed.

The HSE has also confirmed that when they respond to notified cases or outbreaks of Covid-19, they undertake a risk assessment of the situation and appropriate investigations are undertaken and control measures put in place.

Speaking to the Leader this afternoon, Cllr Nolan praised the staff at St Joseph's for their hard work during this pandemic and urged them to speak out if they had any concerns.

"The HSE is looking for new protocols for staff members where temperatures are taken before a shift because people are climbing the walls with worry," said Cllr Nolan.

"I have voiced my concerns to the HSE. The staff are excellent. The patients are secure. They're on top of things. Everybody is in compliance with the guidelines. I wish them all well. They're looking after our elderly. The work they do is invaluable. They're doing an excellent job.

"But if the staff have any concerns, they must be taken on board by public representatives and the people in charge. Anything that needs to be done to reassure staff has to be taken into account and I'm counting on the HSE to do that. And if the staff aren't happy, then they need to speak up," she concluded.

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