Not all coronavirus test centres open due to lack of equipment

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Not all Covid-19 testing sites in Ireland are open today, due to lack of equipment.

Liz Canavan from the Department of the Taoiseach told the press in her daily briefing that of Ireland’s 25-plus testing sites, some have not been able to open due to issues with procurement.

“Not all our test centres are open today, however the HSE assures us that sufficient test centres are open to meet the current level of testing demand and an appropriate processing capacity,” she said.

“The HSE now has a plentiful supply of swabbing kits and patients who have been referred for swabbing can be processed by the existing testing centres.

“As indicated previously the HSE have been regularly briefing on procurement challenges in a range of areas, including materials required for testing, and they will continue to update the public on this, the procurement issue is a global problem.”

Testing in Cavan has resumed today, after it was temporarily suspended yesterday due to a lack of tests.

The issue is now so prevalent that the HSE will begin contact tracing for the most vulnerable, even before results are returned.

“The HSE has asked us to apologise to all those waiting for test results, and to assure the public, they’re making every endeavour to improve turnaround times with the current international constraints,” Ms Canavan added.

“Testing is being performed for public health, as opposed to clinical reasons and patients waiting for referrals should continue to self isolate for 14 days.

“The HSE continues to prioritise testing of healthcare workers, and in-patients in acute hospitals, acknowledging the delay in testing behaviours here beginning direct contact tracing of high risk groups in advance of test results.”

This week the HSE public analysis laboratory in Cherry Orchard and the Department of Agriculture laboratory have both come online, adding to laboratory capacity.

It is assumed this will aid the issue of a delay in results, an issue which ongoing for the HSE, with many people reporting waiting 7-10 days for a diagnosis.

There have been 71 Covid-19 related deaths in the country, with 3,235 confirmed cases of the virus.

    Useful information

  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024



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