- 19 Apr 23
The new protocol was announced last month by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and today marks the first day of implementation.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has decided to loosen the regulations and safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Last month, the HPSC announced that face masks would no longer be mandatory in hospitals and other health services from today (April 19th).
The plan was implemented today in hospitals across the country. The HPSC's most recent data, last updated on April 11, shows that there have been 107 positive antigen tests. There have been 1,708,933 confirmed cases (PCR) in total up to today's date.
The requirement of facial coverings was first introduced in 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Face masks became optional for stores and public transportation in February 2022.
The decision is being put in effect right when overcrowding has become a major issue for the hospitals in Cork city. The Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO) highlighted the lack of trolleys and chairs for people in these hospitals.
Hospital overcrowding is out of control in Cork City today with records being broken in both Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital.
It is time for a national response to tackle the trolley crisis in Cork City.https://t.co/soFCUQj9dN pic.twitter.com/WsMcID9Gp4
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) April 18, 2023
The healthcare representative body feels that the decision to remove masks for everyone is a mistake, especially with the overcrowding mentioned.
General Secretary of INMO, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, stated, “It's absolutely the wrong move right now.”
The INMO highlighted how Covid-19 is still a threat and still an issue for individuals. The current situation in Cork also does not help the situation and only adds to the spread of various diseases, not just COVID.
Masks are still recommended in certain areas. When a patient is displaying Covid-19 symptoms, healthcare workers should wear a face mask “at a minimum.”
The masks will still be required for healthcare professionals who are performing high risk procedures.
The new regulations also change how individuals should quarantine if they display respiratory symptoms by no longer needing to take a Covid test. Adults who display symptoms are recommended to stay at home and avoid contact with people up until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.