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Trust staff infected after masks issue

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Seamus McGoran  (David Young/PA)

Seamus McGoran (David Young/PA)

PA

Seamus McGoran (David Young/PA)

Fourteen staff at a local health trust contracted coronavirus after having been incorrectly fitted for a protective mask.

The chief executive of the South Eastern Health Trust said it was working on the assumption that the staff could have contracted Covid-19 as a result of their failed FFP3 masks. Seamus McGoran told the Assembly's Health committee that all affected staff had recovered from the virus and were back at work.

Northern Ireland's chief nursing officer Charlotte McArdle later told committee members that none of the other four trusts here had recorded Covid-19 infections among staff who required refitting for FFP3 masks.

Last month, the Public Health Agency revealed that an audit review of fit testing had been ordered after an independent contractor had not applied UK requirements when fitting some masks. At the time, the PHA insisted the risk to staff was low.

Mr McGoran was one of three trust CEOs questioned about the audit during their appearance before committee members yesterday. MLA Pat Sheehan said 3,000 of 37,000 fit testing certificates issued had been identified as needing a refit.

Mr McGoran said 464 staff in his trust required a refit. "Virtually all of those have been retested for an alternative mask and are working with that mask."

Belfast Telegraph