HSE to ask people who tested positive at weekend to alert their own close contacts
The HSE said this is a temporary measure.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) will ask people who received a positive Covid-19 test result at the weekend to alert their own close contacts.
More than 3,000 people who received a positive Covid-19 test result last week will be asked to alert their own close contacts due to growing pressure on Ireland's contact tracing system.
The HSE said its contact tracing teams have come under unprecedented pressure over the past number of days.
As first reported by The Irish Times, the HSE did not contact thousands of close contacts of confirmed cases over a three-day period from Friday, 16 October to Sunday, 18 October because the contact tracing system was overwhelmed by cases.
Contact tracers instead focused on alerting all the close contacts of Monday's confirmed cases.
Now, the HSE has said that these 3,000 people, who have already been notified of their positive test, will be sent a text today asking them to alert their own close contacts to restrict their movements and to immediately contact their GP to arrange a test.
The HSE said this once-off measure is being introduced, in consultation with GPs, to ensure that those affected are tested as quickly as possible.
HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said in a statement: "We know that people would prefer a personal call at what can be a worrying time and we would prefer to make those calls and to continue to do that going into the future.
"For this temporary measure, we should reiterate that the contact tracing process has always been led by the information given to us by the people we are calling, so we are confident that the people involved will be able to identify their own contacts and will contact them as soon as possible."