In August, following the emergence of clusters in Meat Processing Plants in the midlands, NPHET made a series of recommendations to support the affected workplaces and for the protection of vulnerable groups.
This included the establishment by the HSE of a National Standing Oversight Committee on COVID-19 to maintain an ongoing review of the impact of COVID-19 in high risk industries. This Committee has representation from the agencies involved in outbreak oversight in the affected industries, as well as representation from the relevant industries.
The HSE has undertaken a number of measures, including:
- National guidance on the management of outbreaks was first developed in May 2020 and has been updated twice since then.
- Meat plants which have current outbreaks receive Public Health advice on management of the outbreak from their local HSE Dept of Public Health
- Translated information on Covid 19 is available from the HSE. Translators are used as required during HSE contact tracing.
- HSE serial testing of staff in meat plants is on a four-weekly cycle.
- DAFM is assisting the HSE with an evaluation of rapid antigen testing in a small number of meat processing plants comparing the results of rapid antigen testing with PCR testing.
The letters detailing the NPHET recommendations are available at: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/ba4aa0-letters-from-the-cmo-to-the-minister-for-health/#august-december-2020