At least 10 midwives in the maternity unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda have tested positive for Covid-19, while up to 20 others underwent testing in recent days.
Elsewhere, four physiotherapists at Mayo University Hospital have contracted the virus — physios there have been retrained to work on the front line in the fight against coronavirus.
News of the outbreaks in the two hospital departments emerge as the number of healthcare workers infected by Covid-19 climbed to 4,180 on Tuesday — an increase of 54% compared to a week earlier.
In the HSE North-East region, where Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is located, the number of healthcare workers with coronavirus more than doubled during that period, soaring from 164 to 406.
In the HSE West region, which includes Mayo University Hospital, the number climbed by 16% from 159 to 184. Healthcare workers now account for 27% of all Covid-19 cases in Ireland.
Earlier this month, CEO of Saolta University Health Care Group, Tony Canavan, said that physiotherapists were among the hospital workers that were being retrained for the front line against Covid-19.
“Some 250 staff [across the hospital group] have been trained over the last four weeks. These are nursing staff and therapists, such as physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and occupational therapists. These are currently working in our hospitals but are now trained if we need them to work in our ICUs,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the hospital group declined to comment on the number of physiotherapists who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Mayo, and instead pointed to national statistics containing the total number of infected healthcare workers.
The 10 staff members infected by Covid-19 in the maternity unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital represents approximately 10% of the midwives working in the department.
The maternity unit at the hospital has banned visitors from the antenatal and postnatal wards as part of its response to the pandemic, and permits the attendance of partners only in the labour ward, similar to most other facilities.
The RCSI hospital group did not respond to queries over the course of six days, although the HSE National Press Office confirmed that they had been received.