Written answers

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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372. To ask the Minister for Health if urgent consideration will be given to opening a mobile test centre in north County Dublin given the high levels of Covid-19 in the Skerries and Balbriggan local electoral area. [18051/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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As part of the HSE’s enhanced COVID-19 testing for local communities, from Thursday March 25th, five new ‘walk-in, no appointment necessary’ testing centres have been opened to actively look for cases of COVID-19. These centres, which are opening in areas where the number of positive cases is particularly high, will allow people who don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 to get a free test without having to contact their GP first. Around 20% of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.

The testing centres will be open from Thursday, 25 March to Wednesday, 31 March from 11am to 7pm. Social distancing measures will apply as people turn up for testing.

Testing people with no symptoms will help to find positive cases earlier, will help in breaking chains of transmission and will help us better understand how and why the virus is spreading quicker in certain areas.

The initial locations at Blanchardstown, Grangegorman, Irishtown, Tallaght and Tullamore have been decided based on local disease prevalence and public health director’s advice. The locations will change week-on-week. Decisions on future locations of walk-in centres will be made following assessments made by the Directors of Public Health in the HSE based on the prevailing incidence rates.

Anybody may use this free, walk-in COVID-19 testing provided they

- Are aged 16 years and over.

- Do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but would like to be tested.

- May not have their own GP (doctor)

- Live within 5k of the walk-in testing centre.

Persons who want to be tested should bring photo ID and provide a mobile phone number so the HSE can contact them with their results. Working with the National Ambulance Service, the HSE aims to carry out 300-500 COVID-19 tests per day at each walk-in centre. Any detected cases will be referred to contact tracing in the same way as detected cases that were referred through by a GP.

On an ongoing basis, NPHET considers and reviews, based on public health risk assessments, how best to target testing to detect, and mitigate the impact of, the virus across the population. This includes keeping Ireland’s national testing policy under continuing review.


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