BREAKING: New Covid-19 walk-in test centre to open in Limerick

Lack of covid testing capacity discriminates against Donegal

The walk-in Covid-19 test centre will open on Wednesday

THE HSE has confirmed a walk-in Covid-19 test centre will open in Limerick later this week in response to the recent surge in cases across the city and county. 

The four-bay facility will operate at St Joseph's Health Campus, Mulgrave Street between 11am to 7pm for five days beginning on Wednesday.

No appointment is needed and the free service is being led by the National Ambulance Service, with support from HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare and Public Health Mid-West.

The walk-in test centre is for those who have Covid-19 symptoms and for people who are concerned that they may have been exposed to Covid infection in the past two weeks.

Children can get tested if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Those who attend must bring a photo ID and provide a mobile phone number so they can be contacted with their results.

The current test-centre - at Ballysimon Road - will also continue to operate.

Public Health Mid-West has recorded more than 250 new cases of Covid-19 in Limerick since Sunday, May 16. According to provisional data, there were 51 new cases on Friday, 31 on Saturday, and 40 on Sunday.

A large proportion of this rapid increase is associated with high-risk, indoor social activity across all age groups in the city and county in the past two weeks. These include house parties, indoor social gatherings among students, indoor family gatherings and celebrations, onward transmission from Eid celebrations, and multi-household clusters.

High-risk social activity is also causing onward transmission into schools and workplaces. For example, more than 20 school situations and more than 20 workplace situations across the region are currently under investigation.

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, is urging people in Limerick to avail of the walk-in and drive-through testing and to be extra vigilant with Public Health guidelines amid growing numbers of new infections.

“Our health service is under enormous pressure as a result of the cyber attack on our IT systems, which is furthermore being compounded by the increase of young people being admitted to University Hospital Limerick. The past two weeks have shown just how quickly this disease spreads into multiple settings when we drop our guards. But if we act now, remain vigilant, and avail of testing, we can prevent the start of a potentially large community outbreak in Limerick,” Dr Mannix said.

Maria Bridgeman, HSE Mid West Community Healthcare Chief Officer, added: “While the vaccination programme has been a success to date, it is still the case that the majority of people remain unprotected against the risks associated with Covid-19. Therefore, it is vital that everyone continues to follow all public health guidance to prevent a further spread of this virus in our community. I am urging everyone, particularly the people of Limerick, to avail of this testing service.”

Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospitals Group says there are currently 12 Covid-positive inpatients in UHL includes "a small number" of relatively young people who require critical care.

"The easing of restrictions across society and the progress of our vaccination gives us great cause for hope but the increase in hospitalisations in recent days underscores the continuing need for vigilance. This is particularly so when our hospitals continue to experience severe disruption in the wake of the cyber attack and when scheduled care has been greatly reduced to allow staff to care for the most seriously unwell and injured," said.

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