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88% of healthcare workers with COVID got virus at work
Press Release - 12.06.20
 
88% of healthcare workers with COVID-19 got the virus at work, according to official figures presented to the INMO.
 
The HPSC figures run until May 30th. Excluding cases which are unknown/under investigation, they show:
- 88% got the virus in a healthcare setting as staff
- 4% from contact with a confirmed case
- 3% from travel
- 3% from community transmission
- 1% from a healthcare setting as patients.
 
Of the 8,018 cases of infected healthcare workers in the figures, 2,551 are under investigation without a known source of transmission. Those cases are 32% of all healthcare worker cases and not included in the above percentages.
 
Overall, healthcare workers make up a third of all COVID positive cases in Ireland. Nurses make up a third of those – the largest single group of workers infected.
 
As of May 30th, seven healthcare workers have died from the virus, 1,515 (19%) have recovered, and 4,823 are still ill (60%). 20% of cases have a currently unknown status.
 
The INMO has repeatedly called for these figures to be released. Following a meeting this week with the Minister for Health, the union has received a commitment that they will be published weekly.
 
To combat the high rate of infection among healthcare workers, the INMO is calling for three policy changes:
 
1. Amend regulations to class COVID-19 as a personal injury under health and safety legislation.
2. Facilitate healthcare workers who come into unprotected close contact with COVID-19 to self-isolate for 14 days, without exemptions.
3. All healthcare workers – not just those in nursing homes or clusters – be provided with regular COVID-19 testing. 
 
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
 
“One in three COVID-19 cases are healthcare workers. One in ten are nurses. And these figures show the vast majority have caught the virus at work.
 
“This figure cannot simply be accepted as normal. We need to tighten procedures and test more to ensure that frontline staff don’t get the virus they are fighting. This isn’t just about PPE, it’s about policy too.
 
“The government should classify this as what it is: a workplace-acquired personal injury. This would not only reflect reality, but ensure that the full range of health and safety rules would be rolled out to protect frontline workers.”
 
-end-
 

Notes to editors:

As of midnight on Saturday 30th May 2020, there were 25,385 cases. 8,018 (31%) were healthcare workers.

Breakdown of healthcare worker roles:

HCW Role

Cases

% of HCW total

Nurse

2591

32.3%

Healthcare assistant

2056

25.7%

Other allied HCW

1878

23.4%

Doctor

483

6.0%

Porter

90

1.1%

Unknown

920

11.5%

Total

8018

100.0%

Breakdown of transmission source:

Likely source of transmission

Number

%

% excluding “under investigation”

Healthcare setting acquired: staff

4828

60.4%

88.3%

Close contact with a known confirmed case

233

2.9%

4.3%

Travel related

166

2.0%

3.0%

Community transmission

182

2.3%

3.3%

Healthcare setting acquired: patient

58

0.7%

1.1%

Under investigation

2551

31.7%

n/a

Total

8018

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 
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