Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Réada Cronin (Kildare North, Sinn Fein)
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481. To ask the Minister for Health the number of patients who were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes in north County Kildare as a result of Covid-19; the number who were tested for Covid-19 prior to transfer; the number who tested positive while resident in nursing homes; the number who died from the virus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10537/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The HSE through the Health Protective Surveillance Centre has developed an extensive body of guidance and support tools to assist in the management of COVID-19 cases, including in relation to nursing homes and homecare. This guidance is reviewed and updated regularly as necessary 

The current relevant guidelines are the: “Interim Public Health and Infection Prevention Control Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks in Residential Care.

On 10 March 2020, the HSE issued Interim Guidance on Transfer between Care  Facilities,  which  included  preliminary guidance on the transfer of hospitalised patients from an acute hospital to a residential care facility in  the  context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance based on the best available information at the time set out the various procedures to be followed, including:

- Patients with COVID-19 should not be transferred to a LTRC until they had two consecutive tests indicating virus not detected.

- Patients  who  were  symptomatic  and  were  contacts of a confirmed COVID-19  case  should  only  transfer  if  the  persons  had  a test indicating  virus not detected and it was possible for that person to be isolated for the relevant incubation period;

- Patients  who  were  asymptomatic  and  were contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case should only transfer if it was possible for that person to be isolated for the relevant incubation period;

- Transfers  from  hospitals  with  no  evidence of spread of COVID-19 should  proceed  as  normal,  except  patients with respiratory tract infection  meeting  the then criteria for COVID-19 testing – in those cases  testing  should  be carried out and the result should be virus not-detected before transfer.

With regard to the query raised in respect of numbers of patients, this data is not readily available to my Department but I will follow up with the HSE to seek further information.

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