60 staff at Cork University Hospital asked to self-isolate over Covid-19 case

More than 60 staff at Cork University Hospital have been asked to self-isolate after the identification of a case of community transmission of Covid-19 at the hospital.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland more than doubled on Thursday with the first case of community transmission also confirmed.

Seven new cases were confirmed by the Department of Health on Thursday night which brings the number of cases in the Republic of Ireland to 13. Three cases have also been detected in Northern Ireland.

Four of the latest cases are travel-related from northern Italy, involving four males from the east of the country.

Two are associated with close contact with a confirmed case and involve two females in the west of the country.

The Health Service Executive’s national director of acute operations Liam Woods told RTE radio Cork University Hospital has introduced visitor restriction measures and curtailed some elective procedures and outpatient services.

Mr Woods said the Republic of Ireland remains in a containment stage and people will be brought to hospital if they are confirmed to have the disease.

“The contact tracing in Cork has been completed and our public health department has engaged in that so that work is done.”

“The procedure is clear, so any person who is a contact is asked to voluntarily self-isolated and that has happened.”

Mr Woods said the country remains in the containment phase but warned it is a “rapidly evolving situation”.

He said management is reviewing services at all hospitals in the country to ensure there is adequate space for essential services while also dealing with the outbreak.

“Our contingency planning is about ensuring we have adequate space to provide essential services that are currently provided but to also deal with the outbreak of a viral infection.”

“Our contingency measures are in place and we will be able to respond for quite some time.”

Meanwhile, a section of Trinity College Dublin’s city centre campus will be closed as a precautionary measure as a case of Covid-19 is connected with the campus.

An email sent to students and staff on Thursday night read: “We were informed of a positive case of Covid-19 (coronavirus) within Trinity College Dublin late on Thursday night (March 5). We are now working closely with the authorities to ensure that this individual receives the best care possible.”

“The HSE will trace anyone who has been in contact with the infected individual to ensure they receive any necessary medical attention.”