There are more than 100 Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes across Ireland, with 50 new outbreaks being reported since 1 January. 
Chief Executive of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly said as the virus is so widespread in the community there is increased pressure across the health service, including nursing homes. 
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the sector has been vigilant throughout the pandemic and staff are “back on high alert” again. 
Mr Daly said nursing home residents who have been admitted to hospital are tested for the virus before returning to the home and that from tomorrow serial testing for nursing home residents will become weekly for least the next three to four weeks. 
Mr Daly said such testing is a “critical element” of identifying cases because the “huge number” of asymptomatic patients is “posing a significant challenge” across the health service. 
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“All of the elements – PPE, testing, quarantining, cohorting, and now the vaccination – all of those elements and public health measures are all required to continue to suppress the virus. No one element is more important than the other,” he said. 
The CEO of Brookhaven Healthcare, which owns Droimnín Nursing Home in Stradbally, Co Laois, where six people have died from Covid-19 in the last seven days said he believes the virus entered the home because it is “so rampant in the community”. 
More than 52 residents have also tested positive. 
Gearóid Brennan said it is has been devastating for everyone – staff, residents and the entire community of Stradbally. 
Speaking on the same programme, he said work is being done around the clock to ensure everything possible is being done to support the residents and team in Droimnín. 
Mr Brennan said residents who have tested negative are being isolated and cared for by a dedicated team to ensure the virus does not cross over. 
He said that staff are being accommodated on site so that the virus does not spread in the community and additional staff have also being brought in.
Mr Brennan said the virus had been kept out of all five of the nursing homes run by Brookhaven last year. 
Residents at Droimnín were due to get the Covid-19 vaccine on 19 January as part of the rollout to nursing homes across Laois, but that cannot go ahead now until 28 days after all coronavirus tests at the home prove negative. 
Mr Brennan said there are no visits for virus free residents currently, but arrangements are being made for those residents receiving palliative care.

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