Covid outbreak at Limerick maternity hospital sparks restriction concerns
It has affected one ward.
New and increased visitor restrictions and infection control measures have been put in place in University Maternity Hospital Limerick after an outbreak of Covid-19 at the inpatient wards.
Access to the wards for support partners is now "limited to one two-hour slot per day between the hours of 2pm and 8pm," according to a statement released by the hospital.
The outbreak was declared on an inpatient ward on December 28th when "a number of patients tested positive."
According to hospital management, the restrictions to all inpatients wards were a "precautionary measure" and were "being introduced at a time of high community transmission which is affecting patients and staff."
“We expect to admit a number of women who have tested positive in the coming days and Covid-19 related staff absences are increasing across the health service,” the statement said.
“An outbreak control team has been established and we wish to reassure patients and their loved ones that all appropriate infection control precautions are being followed to minimise the risk of spreading.
“We also recognise the difficulty and distress any restriction in access causes to service users and their loved ones. We will continue to facilitate access for nominated support partners to the greatest degree practicable, these temporary restrictions will be reviewed on a continuing basis and we will issue a further update in the coming days.”
Slots are now being organised at ward level by hospital staff for support partners to come into the hospital and will "link directly with service users and nominated support partners."
The hospital said: “We recognise that this represents a considerable reduction in access on our inpatient wards. We will facilitate additional access for inpatients on compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis where these restrictions are causing considerable distress.
“We are committed to increasing access for partners on our inpatient wards as soon as possible.
“An online system is available for nominated support partners to complete a Covid-19 questionnaire in advance of attending the hospital. We also encourage partners to consider taking an antigen test in advance of attending UMHL should they have one at home.”
Management has also said these new restrictions will only affect its inpatient wards and. support partners will still be allowed to access certain areas, regardless of vaccination status.
Once a Covid-19 questionnaire and temperature screening have been done on arrival, partners will be allowed to enter the labour ward, the theatre, neonatal Intensive Care Unit / High Dependency Unit, Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit, emergency high-risk admissions, 12-week scan, and anomaly scan.
The hospital has also asked support partners "not to access the hospital if they have symptoms of Covid-19."