The Saolta Hospital Group has issued a statement to Midwest News this evening, stating that Mayo University Hospital "has implemented a range of infection prevention and control practices to manage suspect and confirmed Covid-19 patients and reduce Covid infection rates among patients and staff".

The statement outlines how patients are streamed into Covid and non-Covid pathways since mid-March, and says that, while every effort is made to ensure patients are streamed separately, occasionally it will happen that a person in a non-Covid space will turn out to be positive as he or she may not have shown any symptoms.

The hospital has also separated its clinical staff into teams to minimise contact between staff and reduce the risk of infection.

While not addressing our question directly about crossover of staff treating Covid and non-Covid patients, the statement says Saolta is assured that "the appropriate control measures are currently in place in Mayo University Hospital in relation to the management of Covid 19".

Midwest News also questioned Saolta today about an email sent by hospital management to staff in mid-March, warning that disciplinary action would be taken if any staff member was to breach patient confidentiality.

Councillor Christy Hyland today criticised the tone of the email, which he described as "threatening".

The Saolta group said this evening that, at the time of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Castlebar hospital, and in the context of numerous queries coming into the hospital, an email was circulated to staff to remind everyone of their responsibility to maintain patient confidentiality, and ensure that no information relating to any patient was shared externally, on social media or in any other way.

Management says "the message reflected the seriousness of any breach of confidentiality by a healthcare worker".

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