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Nurses and healthcare assistants account for half of cases of covid-19

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Nurses and healthcare assistants account for more than half the health workers who have caught the coronavirus, new figures reveal.

Out of 8,018 health workers who tested positive at the end of May some 2,591 were nurses and 2,056 were healthcare assistants.

Therapists and other allied health professional made up a quarter of confirmed or probable cases.

The figures provided to health unions by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show 483 doctors were infected, 6pc of the total, followed by 90 porters.

Just 1,515 of the 8,018 healthcare workers who were infected with the virus had recovered by the end of May.

A worker as young as 30 was among the seven healthcare staff who have died from the coronavirus.

Of the seven fatalities, six are confirmed and one probable among healthcare workers who ranged in age from 30 to 68.

Some 302 were hospitalised and 44 were admitted to intensive care.

Nearly one in five of health staff (1,577) who got the virus were working in nursing homes and 705 were employed in hospitals.

Another 335 were working in residential institutions and 198 in community or long-stay units.

Six in 10 are likely to have picked it up at work and others contracted the virus through close contact with an infected person, through travel and in the community.

Around 58 picked it up from a patient and 2,551 are "under investigation" to find the source.

The highest number of infections was reported in April and they have since declined.

Prof Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, who leads the team advising on the spread of the disease, said he did not believe there was a high infection rate in healthcare workers.

It was around 1pc, despite very high testing, said Prof Nolan.

He was responding to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

Irish Independent