Written answers

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Photo of Emer HigginsEmer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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172. To ask the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to introducing saliva tests for Covid-19 as an alternative testing method for those that struggle with PCR testing such as those with intellectual or mental disabilities. [60826/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Testing and contact tracing continues to be a key component of the Irish Government’s response to the pandemic. Currently, PCR testing is the gold standard for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and it is essential that people who have symptoms of Covid-19 continue to be advised to self-isolate and seek a PCR test from the HSE.

The HSE continues to monitor the evidence for other testing types in conjunction with other public bodies, such as the Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA), and having regard to best international evidence and advice.

The HSE has a range of COVID-19 guidance documents for disability services available on their website www.hse.ie/eng/services/covid-19-resources-and-translations/covid19-posters-and-resources/covid-19-hse-approved-guidance-for-disability-services.html

This includes a 'Guidance for testing for COVID-19 in Disability Services' which is available as follows:-www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/guidance-for-testing-for-covid-19-in-disability-services1.pdf

On an ongoing basis, the National Public Health Emergency Team 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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