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04 Dec 2021

Health care staff absences due to Covid soar to highest number since January

Health care staff absences due to Covid soar to highest number since January

An estimated 5,800 HSE staff are currently out of work due to Covid-19, it was outlined today. 

5,106 healthcare staff were out of work last week due to being a positive case or a symptomatic close contact, the HSE confirmed this afternoon.

Speaking at this afternoon's weekly HSE briefing, Chief Operations Officer Anne O’Connor said the figure of 5,106 staff did not include those who are cocooning, a number she added had also risen.

As a result of this, she said, the overall number absent is "more up to 5,800".

"We haven't been this high in relation to our staff absence since the 26th of January, so this is the highest number," Ms O'Connor said. 

It represents a 34% increase in Covid-related absences among healthcare workers compared to two weeks earlier and is a 290% higher absence rate than the same week in 2020.

At a HSE briefing this afternoon, the HSE's chief executive Paul Reid said that the healthcare system is “under very significant pressure”.

"There has been a serious, continued escalation of Covid transmission levels in the community," Mr Reid said. 

However, he added: "We have, and we are seeing, a very strong response from the public over the last week and ten days in particular.

"We do appreciate that many people are making many sacrifices and giving plenty of support at this time," he said. 

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