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Clare TDs concerned on wait for COVID-19 test results

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“Serious issues” surrounding COVID-19 testing systems “need to be addressed” according to two Clare TDs.

Representations have been made to Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) on a daily basis with constituents highlighting their fear at the length of time it is taking for results to be made known. Some Clare residents have been waiting up to three weeks for confirmation on whether their swap was a positive or negative sample of Coronavirus.

Department of Health officials have told The Clare Echo that anybody waiting on a test or indeed a test result should self-isolate and assume they have the virus to prevent potential spread.

More accurate and transparent information should be provided by the health authorities, Michael McNamara (IND). The TD did commend the job currently being done by officials.

Ms Wynne has been contacted by healthcare workers who she said have been waiting up to two weeks for test results. “I am being contacted on a daily basis by people in Clare including healthcare workers who are alarmed to be waiting around two weeks for Covid-19 test results carried out in Ennis.”

“We are hearing a lot about testing target aims, but the HSE is not disclosing a number of key statistics, what is the number of people waiting to be tested in Clare and elsewhere, what is the number of people waiting to have test results processed. These statistics need to be disclosed in the public interest,” she stated.

Such issues need to be addressed urgently, the Kilrush woman flagged. “The current testing situation in Clare is having serious knock-on effects for contact tracing, with reports that some local GPs are receiving positive test results for patients who have not yet been informed of their Coronavirus condition.”

Michael McNamara noted that Ireland’s health authorities “are doing their very best to minimise the spread of COVID-19. The testing regime that has been implemented in Ireland compares favourably with testing regimes around the world”.

Nonetheless, he appealed for “accurate and up-to-date information” on test waiting times to be outlined to the public. “The estimated 7 to 10-day wait time for test results, provided by the health authorities, is disputed by hundreds of people reporting that they are waiting up to three weeks for their results.

“It is crucial that the authorities provide accurate and up-to-date information to the public; otherwise public confidence in the work of the authorities will diminish which could have broader repercussions and undermine our country’s response to this virus during the coming weeks and months,” McNamara added.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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