Updated / Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020 18:33
There have been 14 confirmed deaths linked to Covid-19 among people with disabilities in residential settings.
The figure was outlined at a meeting between representatives of Inclusion Ireland – which is the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability – and Minister for Health Simon Harris this afternoon.
There are around 1,100 residential centres for people with disabilities nationwide.
There was no Covid-19 outbreak in 75% of those settings.
Where there were outbreaks, 25% were Covid-free after 28 days.
Of 430 laboratory confirmed Covid cases in disability residential centres, 57% were staff and 43% were residents.
Inclusion Ireland has described the figures as a good news story for the disability sector.
However, the organisation says there is concern among members over the reopening of services.
It says indications are that children with severe and profound disabilities and underlying complex healthcare needs will not be returning to services because of fears around Covid-19.
The organisation has called for a ‘Covid fund’ to be put in place to allow services for these families to be provided in homes.
It also says a Covid-19 fund would help service providers modify and maximise capacity when they reopen.
CEO of Inclusion Ireland, Enda Egan, says there is now an opportunity for the HSE to reform services for disability groups to make them become more person centered.
A spokesperson for the minister said Mr Harris took the opportunity to thank the representative organisations and disability device providers for their collaborative efforts in shielding and protecting people with disabilities.
She noted that the minister and Inclusion Ireland also discussed “the ongoing work by the Departments of Health and Education on resuming some services for children with special needs over the summer months.”