A nursing home has been slammed over it’s decision to allow twenty staff members who tested positive for Covid 19, on Friday last, carry on working.

Sunhill nursing home in Termonfeckin, county Louth, has admitted that the staff members, along with thirty patients, were tested on Monday of last week and received results on Friday showing they were positive.

Staff were then advised that if they had tested positive but were not displaying any symptoms they could decide for themselves whether or not to carry on working.

It is understood that since the CoronaVirus outbreak 15 patients have passed away in the facility, not all of which were covid related deaths.

In a statement Sunhill management confirmed ‘A number of cases of Covid-19 have been identified among residents and staff and a contingency plan was put in place over the weekend.

‘The situation has been very successfully managed in-house by staff in collaboration with the GP service, public health medicine and the HSE.

‘Staff on duty have either tested negative or have completed a 14-day isolation period’.

However local Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster, whose constiuency covers part of East Meath, has expressed reservations over the homes reaction.

She said, “Last Monday residents and staff at Sunhill were tested for the virus. On Friday results showed that 30 residents and 20 members of staff tested positive, including nurses, kitchen staff, management and carers.

I have been informed that management at Sunhill called sections of staff together and advised them that if they tested positive, but were not displaying symptoms, they could remain at work and that the decision was ultimately up to each individual.

I have been made aware of one member of staff who continued to work until advised to go home to self isolate a day later by Public Health Medicine.

This advice has lead to a very serious situation whereby staff who tested positive were given the option to remain at work, caring for residents and working alongside staff who had tested negative for the virus.

Last Friday I raised this matter with the Minister for Health, the HSE and HIQA. I have been advised that there are now no members of staff who tested positive working at the nursing home. However, it appears that this was not the case in the period between the results coming in, and Public Health Medicine contacting staff members who tested positive to ensure that they were self-isolating.

I received a statement from Sunhill this morning saying that a contingency plan was put in place over the weekend and that the situation is being managed in-house with support from the HSE, their GP and Public Health.

I would have to question the assertion that the plan was put in place over the weekend when we know that staff who tested positive were not sent home by management on Friday and Saturday.”