More than half of recent COVID cases are healthcare workers, according to INMO analysis of the last ten days of available data.
Of the 88 new reported cases between 13-22 June (the latest figures available), 47 (53%) were among healthcare workers.
The INMO has called for the Health and Safety Authority to be authorised to investigate COVID-19 cases in workplaces, by amending current regulations to identify precisely how workers are catching the virus.
To allow this, the union is calling for regulations to be amended to confirm COVID-19 as a workplace injury. This would require reporting each case to the HSA, who would then have a responsibility to investigate.
ICTU have previously written to Heather Humphreys TD, the minister who is empowered to add COVID-19 to the list of potential workplace injuries, who has not acceded to the request.
Yesterday, the INMO escalated the matter and wrote to the Taoiseach calling for the change to be made.
Overall, nearly one in three (31.8%) COVID-19 cases in Ireland are healthcare workers. One in ten (10.4%) are nurse or midwives. HPSC figures indicate that more than two thirds of healthcare workers with COVID-19 caught the virus at work.
The International Council of Nurses has warned that nursing during the pandemic is becoming “one of the most dangerous jobs.”
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“The government need to treat COVID-19 for what it is for our members – a workplace-acquired injury to be investigated. Many of our members are facing longer term difficulties as a result of the virus.
“Our members are heartened to see the number of new COVID cases is down. But healthcare workers are making up a greater share of new cases.
“There has been a lot of discussion about figures and infection rates in recent days. The HSA should be empowered to investigate healthcare worker infection rates and find out exactly how the virus is continuing to spread.”
Notes to Editors:
- Figures on numbers of cases are via the HPSC
- Figures on how healthcare workers caught the virus are here (Table 8).