Smith welcomes decision to carry out weekly testing in nursing homes


– FF has been calling for more frequent testing for some time –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health that he has sanctioned weekly COVID tests for staff and residents of nursing homes beginning next week.

Deputy Smith said, “My Party colleagues and I have been calling for more frequent testing for our nursing homes for over a month and I am pleased that Minister Harris has now listened to the advice and has given the go ahead for testing for staff and residents of nursing homes, beginning next week.

“There has been an unacceptably high number of Coronavirus deaths in our nursing homes and residential facilities since this pandemic took hold – 63% of all deaths have been in these settings.  In the fortnight to 6th June, there were an additional 273 cases in nursing homes, with very sadly another 55 people passing away.

“It’s clear that there were failures in the system and older people and those who were most vulnerable were not properly protected from the virus, with inadequate state support.

“We need to learn from the mistakes of the past three months and place a greater emphasis on nursing homes, the safety of residents, and better state support.

“In particular, Counties Cavan and Monaghan have been two of the counties most affected by the transmission of coronavirus. With such widespread transmission it is vital a robust testing regime is implemented for our nursing homes.

“I am glad the Minister has taken this on board and we need to ensure that the testing begins, as was advised, next week so that our older people and those who are most vulnerable along with staff can be given the best protection against this vicious virus,” concluded Deputy Smith.