THE HSE is to carry out an investigation into an alleged breach of the Covid visiting policy at a West Cork hospital.
An allegation that a group of eight visitors entered a residential care setting in Clonakilty has caused distress to some staff after four of the eight allegedly tested positive for Covid-19.
The source said: ‘Confirmation of the positive test was affirmed after the resident was taken into self-isolation.’
Claims that the party was allowed in on compassionate grounds has caused anger among the staff and some of the residents for putting them at risk.
The hospital had, last April, an outbreak of Covid-19 and 10 residents died, and a large number of staff were infected with the coronavirus.
As part of the visit, it is alleged that when the group went outside, they removed their masks to drink champagne and raise a toast, as well as pose for a professional photographer.
‘Other residents were aghast because they were not allowed any visitors during the Level 5 lockdown,’ the whistleblower said.
The HSE rules – under Level 5 restrictions – is that ‘a resident can have one visit by one person every two weeks but this is on compassionate or critical grounds only.’
These visits, according to the HSE website, should be limited to one hour, and the visit does not need to be by the same person each time.
The HSE has pointed out, however, that outdoor visits are still allowed at nursing homes and hospitals, under Level 5.
The source told The Southern Star said this event happened on Wednesday, December 30th – a time that the Covid-19 figures were starting to spike.
‘That this could happen during the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu is incomprehensible,’ the source said. ‘It not only put the person, but other residents, and the staff working at the hospital, at severe risk of contracting this deadly virus.’
The HSE’s Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said: ‘We have started an assessment to establish if there has been any potential breach of visiting policy.’