May 2nd, 2020 8:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The HSE confirmed the deaths at the 122-bed community hospital. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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THERE have been nine Covid-19 deaths at Clonakilty Community Hospital since the start of April.

The HSE’s Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) confirmed the number of deaths on Wednesday and expressed their sincere sympathies to the families and friends of residents who have died.

Clonakilty Community Hospital has a bed capacity of 122, but there are currently 86 residents in the facility.

A statement this week confirmed that family and loved ones of those who died had been given the chance to be with them in their final hours.

‘This is a difficult time for families, for the community and for the staff caring for the residents at Clonakilty Community Hospital. Management and staff wish to reassure the community that they are continuing to provide both compassionate and high quality care to all the residents,’ said a CKCH spokesperson.

They added that, as of this week, a team of experienced nurses from a number of acute hospitals in Cork and Kerry have joined the team at Clonakilty Community Hospital.

‘Their experience is invaluable in supporting the excellent team at Clonakilty Community Hospital,’ said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson also confirmed that all residents and staff have been tested for Covid-19 and that ‘a level of Covid-19 infection’ remains at the hospital.

Many other residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 are recovering well.

‘Significant extra supports are in place to support the dedicated staff, including additional staff being deployed to the hospital, and an outbreak control team was convened at the initial stage and counselling support is in place for staff,’ they added.

CKCH management have also thanked the staff at Clonakilty Community Hospital for ‘their commitment, dedication and compassion’, while the staff thanked the community for their continuing support in recent weeks.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan expressed his sympathy to the families of those who had died.

‘Nine members of our close-knit, loving community is nine too many. These people are more than just numbers and statistics. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan. ‘I want the staff and management of the hospital to know that the people of Clonakilty and West Cork stand in solidarity and I thank you for putting yourselves at the frontline to protect our community.’

Meanwhile, Clonakilty Chamber is organising an event to help the hospital and show local support for those on the frontline there.

The ‘virtual coffee morning’ takes place this Friday, May 1st from 11.30am to 12.30pm and it will be live on Facebook. See Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

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