There have been 68 further deaths and 556 more Covid-19 cases in the Republic of Ireland, the Department of Health confirmed today.
ut of the 68 deaths reported today 50 of these deaths occurred in February,15 occurred in January and 2 in December.
This brings the total number of coronavirus related deaths in the country to 3,752 and the total number of cases to 204,940.
This comes as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is calling for an independent investigation into the infection of health workers with Covid-19.
More than 25,000 healthcare workers have been infected since the pandemic began in Ireland last March, amounting to roughly one in eight of all cases.
General Secretary of the INMO Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the organisation called for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to have a role in determining safety measures for healthcare workers as far back as last March.
She said this did not happen until the EU introduced a biological hazard agent on November 24, over six months later.
“During that period there was no independent scrutiny of healthcare worker safety. Our view is, no more than any other workplace, where there is a biological hazard, it must have independent scrutiny to ensure the principles of safety are applied,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland ahead of the Oireachtas Health Committee meeting today.
The INMO felt it was not the priority of the HSE to “protect to the maximum” the healthcare workers that were putting themselves at risk throughout the pandemic
“Therefore, the HSA, the statutory body with this responsibility, should be investigating outbreaks and clusters at all times to ensure the State.. is ensuring the maximum protection is being afforded to healthcare workers,” she said.
The INMO have called the vaccine rollout among healthcare workers “haphazard” due to the lack of focus on the locations or workplaces with the highest infections.
The majority of the 25,000 healthcare workers infected with Covid-19 have been nurses and midwives.