inally, after what must have felt like forever and a few weeks, Greystones’ nursing homes will be allowed visitors once more.
Good news that we were keen to share early with both Eyrefield and the Greystones Nursing Home, but they’re both blanking the Guide right now.
Without any explanation.
Think they might be humourless, petty-minded fecks. Or thereabouts.
Still, this press release from Stephen Donnelly TD, fresh out of the oven, should make them smile.
After all, life is very short, my friend…
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the approval by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) of new Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) COVID-19 Guidance on visitations to Long Term Residential Care Facilities.
The Minister also paid tribute to Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, for her work on the nursing homes.
Minister Donnelly said: “The ongoing reduction in COVID-19 cases across the community and the significant progress made in vaccinating the majority of nursing home staff and residents will now result in a loosening of current visiting restrictions. Moving forward, under levels, 3, 4 and 5, residents will be able to receive two visits every week, under compassionate grounds where there is high vaccine coverage in a nursing home.
These changes will come into effect from 22nd March. The next few days will allow time for nursing home service providers to communicate with families, book visits and prepare for additional visiting.”
Furthermore, where a nursing home does not yet have high vaccine coverage (i.e. 8 out of every 10 resident and healthcare worker has been fully vaccinated)m visits will still be facilitated. At level 5, one visit every two weeks and at levels 3 and 4 one visit per week can be provided for.
The positive impact the vaccine is having on the nursing home sector has been phenomenal. Staff absenteeism relating to Covid has plummeted from several thousand to a few hundred. And the latest serial testing results from the nursing home sector show a positivity level of just 0.2 per cent.
Minister Donnelly added: “The nursing home sector has been amongst the hardest hit in our society over the past year. One of the most difficult things people had to cope with was not being able to visit their loved ones.
“I’m delighted we are now able to relax the restrictions that have been in place but I would also urge people to continue to remain vigilant in the fight against Covid.
“We have made a lot of progress but the new variant we are dealing with is incredibly contagious and can rapidly spread if we are not careful.”
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