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No plans to add additional Covid-19 testing facilities in Clare

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There are no plans to add an additional Coronavirus testing centre in Clare with 8,000 on a waiting list in the Mid-West to be tested.

Two swabbing stations are operational at the Ennis Driving Test Centre from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. Plans are in place to expand on the amount of testing locations in the Mid-West but Clare is to remain with the one facility, despite an offer from Clare GAA that Cusack Park be used as a drive-by testing unit.

As of Tuesday night, there are 25 confirmed cases in Clare, doubling on the tally of 12 a day previous.

Covid-19 testing is being carried out in forty locations in all Community Healthcare organisations in the country. The testing service is being provided on an appointment-only basis and only those who are referred by their GP will be seen.

Where a test is requested, the person should be self-isolating at home until they are called for their test. It is advised that any person who is symptomatic or waiting for an appointment for a test, or waiting for a test result, they should assume they are positive and ensure they take all the necessary precautions regarding care and self isolation. Full details are available on the HSE’s website.

Limerick has a total of four swabbing stations in operation seven days week at the Child and Family Centre (three) and St Gabriel’s School (one), extra swabbing stations will commence at St Gabriel’s from Friday. The drive-thru swabbing station at LIT Gaelic Grounds opened on Wednesday afternoon.

Derg Centre in Nenagh has two swapping stations running for twelve hours every day of the week for the people of Tipperary. An additional drive-thru was added to the Derg Centre this week.

8,000 in the Mid-West are on a waiting list to be tested with health officials stating the pace of testing has “significantly increased” in recent days. “With more test centres opening we hope to be in a position to reduce the backlog considerably within a 10 day period. Once the swabbing test is completed people can expect to wait up to seven days for their test result. The advice is the patient should self isolate during this period.

“We also would like to advise people who are symptomatic to self-isolate, whether they have been tested or not. We have seen a significant increase in demand for testing for COVID 19, and we regret that a large number of people are awaiting testing and receipt of results,” a spokesperson for the HSE added.

Getting a test for coronavirus

  • Phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone.
  • If the assessment indicates you require a test, this will be arranged for you.
  • Make sure your GP has your correct mobile or contact number . This is so that you can be contacted to have your test arranged.
  • If you require medical assistance out of hours please contact the G.P Out of Hours Service. Please note they cannot arrange a test for you.
  • HSE Live (1850 24 1850) cannot order coronavirus tests. It is an information line only.

Swabbing test pathway explained:

GPs make electronic referrals for Covid-19 testing for patients about whom they have a concern using the Healthlink system. Community Healthcare staff utilise an integrated electronic appointment system (Swift Queue) which provides people referred for testing with confirmation of their appointment. This will be arranged over the phone with the person requiring testing and they will be given all necessary appointment details for their test. The electronic appointment system went live on the afternoon of Monday March 16th and it has supported arrangements for thousands of people to get tested.If people experience a deterioration in their condition they are advised to contact their GP for medical advice.

Notes for those people who are attending Drive Thru centres:

At no stage will people who attend for testing be allowed to leave their car. When checked in at the entrance, the person will be provided with a face mask, tissues and disposable bag and directed to a test bay. They will then be attended to by Healthcare workers who will be wearing PPE’s. At this point, people will be asked to blow their nose and dispose of the tissue in the bag provided. A throat and nose swab will then be taken and the person will leave the facility, return home and self-isolate. Results will be issued directly to the person at a later date. HSE Mid West Community Healthcare is appealing for the privacy of those staffing and visiting the centres to be respected.

Mid West Helpline:
The HSE Mid West Helpline 1890 300046 was originally set up to deal with close or casual contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases across the Mid West. It is anticipated this Mid West service will scale down in the next seven days as the number of test centres increase. The public are advised the HSE Live line will take on general queries and the number is 1850 24 1850, this is Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm

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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