HEALTHCARE workers who have been identified as 'close contacts' of a positive Covid-19 case are being called back into work due to Irish hospitals being desperately short staffed.
Only those who are not displaying any symptoms of the virus are being called back to work, but the situation still feels potentially perilous.
Anne O'Connor, the chief operations officer for the HSE confirmed that they were calling close contact staff back, but stressed that they were doing so as a "last resort".
She said the staff members were only returning after completing 14 days of self isolation, and that all returning staff were tested and then closely monitored by occupational health.
Speaking to RTE's Morning Ireland, Ms O'Connor admitted that around 7,000 workers were absent due to Covid-19, and stressed that current staff shortages were "challenging".
She called on anyone who was able to help frontline healthcare workers to get to work and do whatever they could to help those on duty.
It comes as almost 1,700 Covid-19 patients were revealed to be in Irish hospitals as of Tuesday evening, 160 of which are in intensive care - more than the peak set last Spring of 155.
Hospitals have been feeling the pressure across the country, and last week it was reported that there are fewer than 40 intensive care beds left available nationwide.