Covid-19 testing centres may be stood down entirely later this year 2 months ago

Covid-19 testing centres may be stood down entirely later this year

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had previously forecast a "perfect storm" of winter-related illnesses.

Covid-19 testing centres may be a thing of the past come the autumn, per new plans from the Department of Health.

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Despite calls for a renewed Covid booster programme for all members of the public as the winter months approach, it would appear that mass testing could be removed altogether.

According to RTÉ News, the Department of Health will address Covid in a similar fashion to other infectious diseases, with GPs taking point at an individual level.

From the autumn, it is expected that Covid testing will only take place if a clinical assessment deems it necessary. In this instance, it would require a scenario where a clinician needs a professional Covid test result in order to determine the subsequent welfare and management of their patient.

As of Thursday morning (28 July), there are 513 people in hospital in relation to the virus. Of those, 33 are in ICU. The positivity rate in the last seven days in Ireland stands at 19.5%.

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JOE has reached out to the Department of Health for comment.

Earlier this month, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly warned of a potential "perfect storm" regarding the presence of Covid-19 amidst the traditional winter flu season, with other respiratory illnesses also in play.

As a result, discussions had begun regarding a possible combined influenza and Covid vaccination programme, which could be rolled out ahead of schedule in the coming months.

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Questions, however, remain. Speaking to RTÉ, Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane called for clarity and availability for Covid-19 testing throughout the country.

"The public health advice is to scale back mass testing and there may be a logic in that but people will also want to know that there is accessible testing available for people who need it,"  he said.

"It is about speed and it is also about making sure that people who need testing can get access to rapid testing, free, as quickly as possible. So, what I want to know from Government is; what will the public health infrastructure look like going into the winter?"

Featured Image via Leah Farrell / Leon Farrell / RollingNews.ie 

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