The Covid-19 Expert Panel on Nursing Homes appeared before the Oireachtas this morning.

The country can not allow itself to return to a scenario where hundreds of nursing home residents are dying from Covid-19.

The Covid-19 Expert Panel on Nursing Homes made the comments before the Oireachtas Covid committee this morning.

56% of those who died from Covid-19 up to mid-July were nursing home residents. That’s 985 lives, according to the HPSC Data.

Professor Cillian Twomey says we can’t allow numbers to peak like that again. He’s told the Covid-19 response committee that there is a program of ongoing staff testing in all nursing homes. Positivity rates in the checks during June and August were as low as 0.1 to 0.2%.

The Expert Panel’s made a series of recommendations in its report covering areas such as staffing, their skills mix and visiting protocols. The panel has also called for a rapid turnaround for testing for residents.

Professor Twomey added that it would be nice if the arrangement afforded to Health minister Stephen Donnelly could be provided for others.