Message from the CEO – Tuesday, 20th October 2020
I want to draw your attention to the very critical stage that we are currently at in the evolving COVID-19 situation in Ireland. Last night, An Taoiseach announced that from tomorrow the entire country is being placed on Level 5 of the Government’s National Framework for Living with COVID-19 for a period of 6 weeks. Complying with restrictions during this time is critical to ensure that we again flatten the curve and thus slow the spread of infection. Your continued support and cooperation are vital here, especially moving into the winter months. On our part, we continue to prepare, plan and actively adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation. COVID-19 training videos are accessible through the PMVT Intranet and it is important that all staff take time to watch these videos and familiarize themselves with the practices and procedures we currently have in place.
One of the key strategies to manage the risks of COVID-19 is to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into our services. If infection is not introduced it cannot be spread.
A range of essential control measures have already been implemented across the organisation to reduce the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of our participants and staff. The control measures will continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis. It is imperative that all staff ensure full compliance with measures such as social distancing, respiratory hygiene and the use of face coverings. Regular ventilation of all indoor environments should continue. In order to ensure our front line services are fully functioning in a safe manner, please ensure that only one PMVT staff member at a time works out of office/reception areas in frontline services and that workspaces across the organisation are disinfected before and after each staff use.
All PMVT staff have been issued with 2 re-usable face coverings along with the guidance on their use. In due course, replacement masks can be ordered through your line manager. They should be worn in all circumstances where social distancing is not possible and in all communal areas across PMVT services, including back office environments. When wearing your face covering in services, you should still do the important things necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, including:
- social distancing
- washing your hands properly and often
- covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- not touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
It is critical that all staff and participants are aware of, and adhere to, COVID-19 control measures and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements. In order to ensure that our frontline services can continue to operate and that staff are supported, our Finance, Fundraising, HR and Central Supports departments have been directed to split again into an A-Team and a B-Team and for the A-Teams and B-Teams to work in isolation from each other. This also applies to our frontline services where staffing complements allow for it and particularly to services where there is more than one team leader. The rationale is to limit the spread of infection and to have a contingency in place so that if one team is impacted the other can continue to function.
Many of you have already availed of the PMVT COVID-19 dedicated Helpline which provides advice and guidance from PMVT nursing staff under the direction of our Head of Nursing. We have received very positive feedback on the value of this support from staff who have made contact. Please do not hesitate to phone the Helpline if you have any concerns or anxieties regarding COVID-19, particularly where this may relate to your own personal health related concerns and attendance at work.
In addition to the above measures, our nursing led team operating from Stay City continue to roll out the Flu Vaccination Programme across the organisation. Although it is a personal choice, the HSE is requesting all those working in the care sector who are responsible for the care of vulnerable people, to put themselves forward for the flu vaccination. We are facilitating this in clinics every Tuesday and Friday afternoon in our service at Stay City and all staff are encouraged to get the vaccine.
As you know, PMVT is an essential service provider and all those on the front line and also all PMVT staff engaged in the administrative support of our essential services are deemed essential employees. This remains the case and by way of precaution it is essential that you continue to carry your PMVT ID badge while travelling to or from work or when out and about on PMVT business. By way of additional support, I have attached an updated letter confirming PMVT staff status as essential employees that should be printed out and kept with you at all times to ensure that you can get to and from work and go about your work business unimpeded during the pandemic.
Our main goal over the coming weeks is to continue to maximize our support to our vulnerable participant group and to our staff and to ensure that we all play our part in preventing the spread of the infection. We continue to encourage all staff to do everything that they possible can not to take any risks, follow the direction of your line manager, the HSE, Department of Health and the Government in reducing your social contacts, avoid large gatherings, maintain physical distancing, consistently implement good hygiene practices and continue to look out for vulnerable family members, participants and staff.
Stay well and stay safe.
Message from the CEO – Wednesday, 7th October 2020
As you know, the entire country has now been placed on Level 3 of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19 for the next three weeks.
The National Framework aims to provide clarity on what restrictive measures are appropriate around the country based on the pattern and progress of COVID-19 in a particular area at a particular time. The Levels are applied to each county based on the current COVID-19 situation in each county. The Level in each area is determined by multiple factors, including the 14-day incidence rate of COVID-19 cases and other key indicators including hospitalisation, admissions to Intensive Care Units (ICU), community transmission rates and the profiles of those with the virus. Given concerns in relation to a general rise in these key indicators across the country over recent weeks, the entire country has been placed on Level 3. I have attached a copy of the National Framework graphic for your information which should also be printed out and displayed in the appropriate areas of our services and back office environments.
The Government has stated that over the coming months, the national objective is to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level so we can live our lives to the greatest possible level. Together, we need to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person. We need to do this individually and collectively so that we can continue to prioritise protecting the most vulnerable, our healthcare system and our education services. We know that widespread restrictions are difficult on us all, individually and as a society, but that they are measures put in place to protect every one of us including our participants, our staff, our families and friends and our neighbours.
PMVT is an essential service provider and all those on the front line and also all PMVT staff engaged in the administrative support of our essential services are deemed essential employees. This remains the case and by way of precaution it is essential that you carry your PMVT ID badge while travelling to or from work or when out and about on PMVT business. By way of additional support, I have attached an updated letter confirming PMVT staff status as essential employees that should be printed out and kept with you at all times to ensure that you can get to and from work and go about your work business unimpeded over the coming weeks.
Our nursing led team operating from Stay City has begun to roll out the Flu Vaccination Programme across the organisation. Although it is a personal choice, the HSE is requesting all those working in the care sector who are responsible for the care of vulnerable people, to put themselves forward for the flu vaccination. We are facilitating this in clinics every Tuesday and Friday afternoon in our service at Stay City. Please contact our Head of Nursing and Addiction Services, Noelle Woods, as per her email below.
I would like to thank our COVID-19 Task Force for keeping us all up to date and safe and well supplied with PPE; the latest batch of masks and sanitizer is due in later this week so I would ask that managers continue to ensure that services are well stocked.
Finally, thanks in no small part to the ongoing professionalism and diligence of our staff in respect of compliance with measures such as social distancing, handwashing, respiratory hygiene and the use of face coverings, the number of confirmed cases among both PMVT participants and staff since the beginning of the pandemic has been very low. I would ask that each of us continue to take personal responsibility for following the measures set out in the National Framework both inside and outside of work so that we can limit the spread of the virus and continue to safeguard our participants and staff.
Again, I would like to thank you for your continued commitment to our participant group and to the work of PMVT.
Stay safe and stay well.
Message from the CEO – Friday, 18th September 2020
As you may be aware, the government has decided today that the entire county of Dublin will be placed on Level 3 of the Framework for Restrictive Measures from midnight tonight.
The Framework has been developed to help us to go about our daily lives as much as possible while managing the behaviour of the virus and sees Ireland moving from a short-term emergency response approach to a medium-term approach to managing risk and repairing the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on society. The Framework consists of 5 Levels. The lower Levels of the framework will be activated when there is low incidence of the disease, with isolated outbreaks, low community transmission. The higher Levels will be used to deal with higher incidences of the disease. It will be possible for different regions and counties to be at a different Level to the National Level, depending on the incidence of the virus in that particular region or county.
The action to place the county of Dublin on Level 3 of the Framework is based on a review of the current public health advice and is in response to the deteriorating situation with the virus in Dublin over the past number of weeks. The rest of the country remains at Level 2 of the Framework. Dublin will remain at Level 3 for a period of 3 weeks, until Friday 9 October, at which point the situation will be reviewed by the government, based on the status of the virus and the pertinent public health advice. The measures come into place at midnight tonight (Friday). I have attached a guide sheet on Dublin at Risk Level 3 for your information which should also be printed out and displayed in the appropriate areas of our services and back office environments.
As you know, the majority of PMVT services are based in the Dublin region including STA provision, family hubs, U18s aftercare and housing services. Staff in these services, and all PMVT staff, should continue to present to work and should also ensure that our participants are informed of the restrictions and supported to adhere to them. You may recall that In advance of the national lockdown back in March, I advised all staff that PMVT is an essential service provider and all those on the front line and also all PMVT staff engaged in the administrative support of our essential services are deemed essential employees.
This remains the case and by way of precaution it is essential that you carry your PMVT ID badge while travelling to or from work or when out and about on PMVT business, particularly in the Dublin region while it remains at Level 3.
By way of additional support, I have attached an updated letter confirming PMVT staff status as essential employees that should be printed out and kept with you at all times to ensure that you can get to and from work and go about your work business unimpeded over the coming weeks.
There may be additional measures announced in the coming days and if and when they are we will update you accordingly. The Framework for Restrictive Measures introduced by the Government is an attempt to move the country towards a more agile, responsive and flexible way of managing the virus and you should expect an amount of ongoing re-adjustments as we move between different levels in different regions at different times. I would ask that you continue to be professional, calm and vigilant in relation to the continued implementation of measures to limit the spread of infection.
Again, I would like to thank you for your continued commitment to our participant group and to the work of PMVT.
Stay safe and stay well.
Message from the CEO – Monday, 29th June 2020
As you know, following inter-party talks and agreement over a programme for Government, a new Government was officially formed over the weekend, a new Taoiseach has been elected and a new Minister for Housing has been announced as one of many new Cabinet appointments. PMVT has already made contact with key appointments to ensure that we continue to be part of the solution to homelessness. Central to the new Government’s plans is the continued management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today the country entered Phase 3 of the roadmap for lifting COVID-19 restrictions. While this is a positive step in the continued re-opening of our communities and our economy, it has been made possible only as a result of the collective efforts of all of us to follow public health advice in containing the spread of the virus and it remains a matter of personal responsibility that we limit our social interactions, continue to be constantly aware of risks, avoid complacency, and take care when meeting people. In line with public health advice, Government direction on Phase 3 remains focused on the central elements of preventing the spread of infection, namely: wash your hands, practice good cough & sneeze etiquette, stay 2m away from others, avoid crowds and know the symptoms.
These core elements of preventing the spread of the virus are being complemented by further practices as many more workplaces open up under Phase 3 including the mandatory use of face-coverings on public transport. PMVT staff should ensure that they adhere to this new protocol when travelling to and from work or if travelling on public transport during work. As of this coming Wednesday PMVT services that have pre-prepared meals delivered will return to the pre-COVID-19 meal serving practices ensuring the appropriate use of PPE such as masks and gloves when meals are being served, mealtimes are staggered and that participants are supported to maintain social distancing throughout.
International Travel restrictions remain in place and we are advised that a protocol for safe overseas access will be prepared to ease restrictions on travel to countries that we know have comparable COVID-19 incidence and will be published by 9th July. All staff should discuss annual leave intentions with their line managers in advance of making concrete arrangements to ensure that any potential risks for staff and participants are anticipated and addressed.
Additional guidance will be issued this evening by the PMVT COVID-19 Task Force to support the organisation to continue to navigate our way through the pandemic in line with the revised roadmap for reopening Ireland that will see us enter the fourth and final phase of lifting of restrictions on 20th July at which time there will be a gradual return to work for all businesses in what will become the new normal.
Again, thank you for your continued support and commitment. Stay safe, stay well and stay vigilant.
Message from the CEO – Friday, 19th June 2020
I hope you are well. As we continue to navigate our way through Phase 2 of the revised roadmap for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, I just want to update you on where we’re currently at in PMVT in our ongoing response to COVID-19.
- The most significant update is that this week saw the first day in which we had no positive cases among both our participant group and our staff since the pandemic began.
- In the last seven days we have had an average of only 1 positive case among those in the isolation units we currently operate for confirmed and suspected cases across the sector and there have been no new confirmed cases among PMVT participants for a number of weeks now. The total number of positive cases from across all of our own PMVT services still stands at 11 since the beginning of March.
- The number of participants we have supported from across the sector who have completed a period of isolation and returned to their service of origin stands at 465 (331 from homeless providers and 134 from direct provision). The number of participants currently in self-isolation is 84 (34 from homeless providers and 50 from direct provision).
- We now have no current positive cases among our staff. To date 17 members of staff have tested positive and all have now returned to work.
- At Stay City Apartments at St. Augustine’s there are currently 73 assigned cases with 1 confirmed case, 35 suspected cases and 37 cocooning. The confirmed case is a transfer from another provider.
- We continue to operate a hotel in the city centre with a capacity for 100 participants and are currently operating at full capacity.
- In relation to Direct Provision, to date we have taken 184 referrals with 41 of these being confirmed cases. The service in Limerick has now suspended operations due to decreased demand and remains ready to be reinstated if needed. The service in Dublin will continue until 31st August 2020.
The above positive trends are welcome news and underlines the importance of your continued vigilance, adherence to good hand washing, respiratory etiquette and social distancing to ensure that as we continue to move through the gradual easing of restrictions we manage the associated risks of an increase in cases by building on the good practice clearly evidenced by staff to date both at work and at home. At this point in the pandemic timeline we face an increased risk of complacency and fatigue and PMVT managers and team leaders will be offering ongoing support to all staff to maintain our high levels of compliance as we move into Phase 3 and Phase 4 in the coming weeks to ensure that we do not expose our client group and ourselves to the risk of infection.
While we continue to manage the impact of COVID-19, we also continue to press ahead with new developments to benefit and protect our participant group and this week saw us open our first housing units in County Cork where we have secured 8 units in Fermoy for homeless allocations from the local authority. In line with established PMVT practice and values, the units were fully refurbished to a high standard in advance of occupation and all tenants will receive ongoing supports from PMVT. Links to media coverage of these new units is listed below and in addition to these we will also be in the Irish Examiner tomorrow.
- RTE Radio One – Today with Sarah McInerney
- Avondhu Press – Regional Paper (North Cork/Waterford/Tipperary)
- ie (Website)
We also have a piece in The Independent on our Housing First service which has continued to house people throughout the pandemic:
Thank you for your continued support and commitment. Stay safe, stay well and stay vigilant.
CEO Message – Sunday 26th April
I just wanted to give you a quick update on where we’re currently at in PMVT in our response to COVID-19. Your ongoing vigilance, your adherence to good hand washing, respiratory etiquette and social distancing has ensured that there have been no major spikes across the organisation to date. All the messages coming from government and the HSE indicate that the curve has been flattened, however, the current challenge for us is that the virus may be with us for some time and, given the vulnerability of our client group, a lot of the measures we’ve brought in around cocooning etc. may have to continue well beyond the 5th May, so we will need to maintain our high levels of compliance to ensure that we do not expose our client group and ourselves to the risk of infection.
By way of update, as of this morning 26th April, I will now outline where we are in relation to capacity and the impact to date on our participant and staff group.
- In relation to the 110 apartments that we secured in the city in late March for the self-isolation of suspected and confirmed cases and some cocooning for those who are in the older age category and with underlying health issues, there are currently 62 units occupied, down considerably from our last email, with 26 confirmed cases, 9 suspected cases and 27 cocooning. Of the confirmed cases, some of these have been transferred to these units from PMVT services and most from other providers. PMVT is currently the only provider in the sector accommodating confirmed cases.
- We have taken on two new additional hotel sites, one in Dublin and one in Limerick, to assist the Department of Justice in relation to confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 in direct provision. We have taken 20 referrals to date.
- In relation to the hotel we secured in the city centre with capacity for 100 rooms to offer cocooning and self-isolation options to PMVT participants who require it, we currently have 94 of the 100 rooms occupied. There remains an option to take additional hotel rooms for isolation should we have a serious spike within any given service.
- To date we have had 42 participants tested positive, 4 of which have been hospitalised but who are doing OK and are not currently in ICU. 27 have now completed their period of isolation and returned to services.
- As of close of business on Friday, 11 staff have tested positive of which 8 have returned to work having completed their period of isolation and are feeling well.
I hope this brief update gives you some sense of how we are together helping to navigate our way through this pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases among our client group and staff group remains low which is good news for all of us. The amount of staff currently out on COVID-19 self-isolation is at its lowest level since mid-March which is very welcome news for all of us. Our primary challenge now is the risk of complacency and fatigue setting in regarding continued adherence to hand washing, respiratory hygiene and social distancing.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment. Stay safe, stay well and stay vigilant.
Please see important information for Peter McVerry Trust Staff in relation to the COVID19 pandemic.
All staff should take the time to familiarise themselves with the information contained below so as to protect themselves, their colleagues and the vulnerable people who access Peter McVerry Trust services.
Key PMVT Staff Document
Spanish translation of the Key PMVT Staff Document is available here.
COVID-19 – Taskforce and CEO Emails – March 12th – April 15th
A document combining all emails sent by our COVID-19 Taskforce and CEO between March 12th and April 15th can be downloaded here.
A document combining all materials sent by our COVID-19 Taskforce between March 12th and April 15th can be downloaded here.
GP/Nurse Phone-line for Homeless Services
In all incidents where there is concern of COVID-19 cases among participants, staff are to contact 1800 901 790.
Interim Guidance on Self-Isolation of Participants in Congregated Settings can be downloaded here.
COVID-19 PMVT Staff Confidential Enquiry Line
If you are feeling unwell or have concerns in relation to contact with a third party, please call 087 405 6568 to speak with a member of our nursing team.
Advice from the HSE on minding your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here.