Health workers who were close contacts called back to work due to staff shortages

Over 7,000 employees are absent across a variety of services.

Chief Operations Officer for the HSE Anne O’Connor has said that health workers in hospitals who were close contacts of confirmed cases are being called back to work before their 14-day self isolation period is completed.

She said the decision was made due to a shortage of healthcare workers.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on Wednesday, O’Connor said that¬†asymptomatic close contacts were being monitored while at work by occupational health experts.

She said that between acute hospitals, support services and community services, over 7,000 employees were absent due to Covid-19.

There are now 160 patients in Intensive Care Units in Ireland and 14 acute hospitals are listed as having no free ICU beds.

The number of patients with confirmed Covid-19 in hospitals has increased to 1,750.

The National Director of Acute Operations with the HSE, Liam Woods, has said the intensive care figure could increase to 300 by early next week in Ireland.

Woods said the demand on ICUs could exceed the supply, but much will depend on the trajectory of the virus.

“It depends on the trajectory of the virus but we’re looking at this stage at potentially moving from about 160 cases in ICU at the moment to potentially 300 by early next week,” Woods said on Prime Time on Tuesday night.

“That will put the public system under extreme pressure.”