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The Mental Health Commission (MHC) has highlighted “a notable increase” in suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 amongst residents and staff of 183 residential mental health services in the first two weeks of the year.
The MHC was also notified of the deaths of three residents in the week prior to Friday (15 January), following their transfer to hospital after they became unwell in the mental health centre. Two of the residents had tested positive for Covid-19 prior to death, while the third was reported to the coroner as a possible Covid-19 case.
In the two weeks from New Year’s Eve to 15 January the number of mental health facilities that have reported suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 to the MHC increased from 17 to 55; the number of residents with confirmed cases of the virus increased from 15 to 61; and the number of staff members confirmed with the virus increased from 36 to 125.
“We continue to see a significant increase in case numbers across the country, relating to both staff and resident cases,” said the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission, Mr John Farrelly.
“This is extremely distressing for everyone concerned and we would like to particularly express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the three people who died this week.
“It is concerning to see how the virus has taken hold in our mental health centres again and we must do everything we can now and for the next few weeks to help management and staff decelerate the rise in cases. We will continue to gather data as we have done for the past 10 months, and feed this information to the HSE and DOH, and we will escalate any matters of concern as appropriate.”
Since the start of 2021, the MHC is also monitoring the vaccination roll-out for residents and staff across all services and says it remains concerned that many centres have still not received a schedule.