*Photograph: Sean Curtin / True Media

One patient and one member of staff at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) have tested positive for COVID-19.

An outbreak control team has been set up at the hospital following confirmation that a patient and member of staff on Ward 3B have tested positive for the virus. All patients in the ward have been informed of the development.

Contact tracing and testing is currently underway and all appropriate infection prevention and control measures are being followed in line with the national HPSC guidance.

A number of staff from the ward at the centre of what we believe to be a localised outbreak have been identified as contacts. They have been asked to stay off work and to self-isolate in line with national guidance. Initial testing of all patient contacts is complete and has not identified further cases. Initial testing of all staff contacts is expected to be complete tomorrow.

“Hospitals have been preparing for these situations for many months and we have now established an Outbreak Control Team to put into operation our measures to protect the safety of patients and staff and to protect public health more generally. This is the first outbreak of Covid-19 to have occurred in UHL since the start of the pandemic. This is unfortunate but we have every reason to believe that this is a limited outbreak that is contained in the ward in question,” Chief Operations Officer of UL Hospitals Group, Noreen Spillane stated.

41 patients were on trolleys at UHL on Tuesday. Emergency presentations to the ED have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, staff have confirmed. “The Emergency Department is very busy at present with high volumes of patients attending, including many frail elderly patients requiring admission. We again ask that patients consider all their care options before presenting to the department,” a spokesperson outlined.

Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s is open from 8am to 7pm. Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns.

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