A severe lack of facemasks is hampering the work of Donegal’s home help workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are more than 470 home help workers employed by the HSE across the county.
The frontline workers visit an average of more than 1,500 clients in their homes.
Up until last week, it was not essential that home helps wear face masks if clients were not suspected of having Covid-19.
However, a change in this guidance means that all frontline healthcare workers coming within two metres of a patient must wear a mask – if the patient has Covid-19 or not.
The directive was issued by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of the HSE.
This now means the home help service in Donegal now needs a minimum of 25,000 masks each week.
Donegal Daily understands that home help staff are running drastically low on face masks to protect workers.
One family, whose mother has an underlying health issue, said they will not allow their home help into their home if they do not have a mask.
The family members told us “We have a wonderful home help and she has been with mum for the past three years. We’d be lost without her.
“But there’s no way she can see mum if she is not wearing a mask. Mum has not been outside the door in two months and hasn’t seen anyone apart from one family member.
“We cannot take any chance of her catching this virus. She needs her home help but the home help has to wear a mask.”