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Almost 22,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) have contracted Covid-19 in Ireland, according to new figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Almost 14,000 or two-thirds of cases occurred since the beginning of August, data up to 23 January contained in a recent report from the HPSC reveals.
A staggering 6,800 cases alone occurred in HCWs during a two-week period from the 3 to 16 January, highlighting the huge surge in cases during the third wave of the virus.
A dozen HCWs have died with Covid-19, according to the report; 11 of which are “confirmed”, with one death described as “probable”. Deaths occurred in HCWs aged between 30 and 68 years.
More than 744 HCWs have been hospitalised with the virus, 76 of whom were admitted to hospital intensive care units (ICUs) for care.
In a detailed examination of cases between August and 23 January, the report illustrates the high number of female HCWs who have contracted the virus.
More than 10,000 or 77 per cent of the 14,000 cases during the time period examined were in female HCWs.
Nurses (3,490) and staff working in acute hospitals (4,000) were most likely to contract the virus.
Healthcare assistants (3,200) and nursing homes (2,900) were among the roles and locations also displaying high case numbers.
Some 235 staff working in GP surgeries contracted the virus during the time period.
Yet, huge gaps in the data are evident, with no known location or title/role provided for more than 5,300 of the 14,000 cases in HCWs
More than 4, 800 of cases in HCWs were linked to outbreaks. The most common locations for outbreaks were nursing homes (1,960), hospitals (979) and private houses (789).
Under one per cent of cases in HCWs related to travel. Almost 30 per cent of cases were healthcare setting acquired from staff and 25 per cent were due to close contact with a confirmed case. The mode of virus transmission is still “under investigation” in one-quarter of cases.
All staff working in any healthcare facility, including cleaners and household staff, are classified as HCWs in the report. The category includes healthcare workers employed both by public and private providers.