A nursing home in Co Wicklow that has been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak is looking for volunteers to help run its services because it faces potential staff shortages. 

It comes as HSE figures from 9 January show there are 112 Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes all over Ireland. 

The letter from Knockrobin Hill Care Home in Wicklow town tells families its rosters are under pressure because Covid-19 contacts have forced some staff to self-isolate. 

"In common with all health care facilities at the moment, staffing the rosters is a challenge due to staff members isolating as close contacts," the letter states.  

The letter asks family members to join a pool of volunteers to help carry out duties at the nursing home and it adds advance testing and garda vetting would be arranged. 

Twenty of the 70 residents at Knockrobin Hill have tested positive for Covid-19 along with four staff members.

The care home's management says these cases are asymptomatic, but seven of its 86 staff there are self-isolating.

James White, CEO of Curam Healthcare which runs Knockrobin Hill, told RTÉ News at One the letter issued to families is part of the care home's contingency plan.

"We have an outbreak in the home of positive cases which are all asymptomatic. As a result of this we foresaw that we might have an issue coming down the line and we have two options in our contingency plan.

"One is to contact the HSE for support, the other is to reach out to the wider community. 

"The reason for the letter going out to patient's families was to see if any of them would like to become part of a pool to volunteers to help on the phones or to help with the laundry or in catering or serving food," said Mr White. 

He added "there is enough staff at Knockrobin at the moment" and the letter is part of a contingency if things get worse. 

Mr White confirmed vaccinations are happening at the care home today. 

Mary Margaret Molloy, whose mother is a resident at Knockrobin Hill, told the same programme that the care at Knockrobbin is "excellent" and she understands the need for it to call for volunteers to help.

"If the nursing home is that desperate to get people to help them, it will be reflected in my mother's care which is excellent.

"They are under pressure at the moment because they have staff out with Covid. I would hope that the Government would come in and try and help them out on a temporary basis," said Mrs Molloy.

Tadhg Daly, the Chief Executive of Nursing Homes Ireland, said the challenges presented by Covid-19 over the last number of days have accelerated significantly over the last number of days.

There is now in excess of 111 outbreaks across all nursing homes  public, private and voluntary and staffing is the single biggest issue, he said.