The Health Service Executive has confirmed that 21 people have now died at one nursing home in Dublin since the start of April.

St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park provides care for older people and has 198 residential places in total.

The HSE confirmed that 11 people died at St Mary's between 2 April and 17 April.

Ten more residents of the nursing home have also died, bringing the total to 21.

All of those who died tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement, the HSE expressed its sympathies to the friends and families of those who died saying "our thoughts are with them at this difficult time".

According to the statement, a number of other residents and staff in St Mary's Hospital have also tested positive for the virus.

The HSE said testing of all residents and staff in the nursing home is being carried out.

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The Minister for Health said he wanted to extend his sympathies to the families of all those who have died at St Mary's Hospital. 

Simon Harris said he could not imagine how traumatic it must be that so many residents had passed away. And he paid tribute to those continuing to work there against a backdrop of huge personal tragedy.

He said he understood the HSE had been giving this a lot of attention including considering redeploying staff.

And he said it showed how the situation was equally challenging for publicly owned residential care as well as private nursing homes.