The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has emphasized the importance of early intervention in preventing the transmission of Covid-19 in hospitals, particularly in light of the emergence of a more transmissible variant, Eris, in the country. INMO General Secretary Edward Matthews highlighted the need for immediate action, stating that timely and graduated measures should be implemented to avoid more stringent restrictions that may affect patient care. The organization stressed the significance of mask-wearing and community intervention in curbing the spread of the virus and reducing the need for drastic measures.
In Ireland, the Covid-19 vaccination program was temporarily suspended in June but is scheduled to resume in the autumn under new guidelines. The booster shots will be available to individuals aged 50 and older, those with a weakened immune system, those aged five to 49 with underlying health conditions, and healthcare workers. Similarly, the UK’s vaccination program has also been paused for the summer and will resume in the autumn for those at risk and frontline healthcare workers. Some experts in the UK have proposed the availability of booster shots in the private market for individuals who do not meet the criteria set by the national program.
Currently, Ireland has been experiencing a steady increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19. In the week starting August 6, there were 732 new cases, representing a 13.7% increase from the previous week. The majority of cases were recorded among individuals aged 75-84. Despite the rising cases, hospitals are monitoring the new variant and implementing measures on a case-by-case basis, with no plans for general restrictions across hospital groups.
Several hospitals, such as St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny and Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan, have imposed restrictions on visiting to control the spread of the virus. Likewise, nursing homes in Ireland are following the HSE guidance, which recommends visiting restrictions in the event of an outbreak. However, these facilities also recognize the importance of maintaining meaningful contact for the residents while managing the risk of Covid-19.
It is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant and continue to follow public health guidelines, including getting booster shots if eligible and seeking medical advice when experiencing symptoms. The HSE will provide updated guidelines to ensure that the necessary information remains accessible to the public.