Surge in COVID-19 outbreaks reported in Northern Ireland

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A surge in COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes has been reported in Northern Ireland with at least 120 services reporting cases, according to the HSC Public Health Agency.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust has suspended visits to its care homes and hospitals with some private care homes also restricting visits.

Dr Gillian Armstrong of the PHA told BBC Radio Foyle: “We are getting a huge amount of calls and inquiries related to cases linked to that and also staffing shortages as well.”

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Dr Armstrong said the Omicron variant was spreading “very fast” in Northern Ireland as with the rest of the UK.

“We’re seeing a very high number of cases – the highest that we’ve ever seen – and Omicron has become dominant,” Dr Armstrong said.

“We will expect that to continue to go up over the next number of weeks just with the sheer numbers of cases in the community.”

Dr Armstrong said it was up to individual private care homes to make their own assessments regarding visiting.

“People need to see their loved ones as well but, at the moment, there is an unprecedented level of community transmission,” she said.

“Each care home will make their own risk assessment according to the vulnerability of their patients and what their staffing levels are like as well.”

Tags : COVID-19Northern Ireland

The author Lee Peart

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