The Minister Simon Harris has confirmed that all nursing home staff will be re-tested for Covid-19 weekly for the next month in response to a request by Deputy Denis Naughten TD.
“Three weeks ago, Minister Harris agreed with me that re-testing needed to be carried out in nursing homes and he has now confirmed that the National Public Health Emergency Team has agreed to re-test all staff weekly for the next four weeks,” explained Denis Naughten.
Deputy Naughten again highlighted ongoing delays in the original testing of nursing home staff which posed an unacceptable risk to residents.
“I again pointed out to Minister Harris the reason why I’m so concerned by this failure to re-test is because the time delay between testing and results is undermining the credibility of the screening programme,” he stressed.
“In one instance that I’m aware of, a frontline nursing home staff member had to wait 13 days for an asymptomatic positive result during which time they were still working in the nursing home. I told Minister Harris that this person worked in a large nursing home in the east of the country yet, amazingly, the HSE had no plan to retest the residents or employees of the nursing home in question.
“This new re-testing regime, which I believe should have commenced earlier, is welcome and I hope it will provide further protection to the long-term residents of nursing homes,” said Deputy Naughten.