Healthcare workers make up over 50% of new COVID cases

Galway Daily covid-19 INMO calls for inquiry into Covid-19 rates among healthcare workers
While the number of COVID-19 cases has fallen dramatically in recent weeks, over half of those cases confirmed recently have been healthcare workers.

Of the 88 new reported cases between 13 and 22 June, 53% were among healthcare workers, according to the official figures for this ten day period.

This is a significant increase in the percentage of new cases related to healthcare workers – overall, one in three cases in the Republic have been those on the frontline.

Nurses and midwives account for one in every ten cases, and the INMO has called for the Health and Safety Authority to be authorised to investigate COVID-19 cases in workplaces.

To allow for this, the union is calling for regulations to be amended to confirm COVID-19 as a workplace injury which would require reporting each case to the HSA, which would then have a responsibility to investigate.

This week, the INMO wrote a letter to Leo Varadkar, calling for the changes to be made.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said that the government needs to treat COVID-19 for what it is for our members – a workplace-acquired injury to be investigated.

“Many of our members are facing longer term difficulties as a result of the virus,” he said.

The General Secretary added that the union’s members are heartened to see the number of new COVID cases is down, “but healthcare workers are making up a greater share of new cases”.

“There has been a lot of discussion about figures and infection rates in recent days. The HSA should be empowered to investigate healthcare worker infection rates and find out exactly how the virus is continuing to spread.”

Nearly one in three of all COVID-19 cases in the Republic of Ireland have been healthcare workers and one in ten are nurse or midwives.