HSE takes on workers from Limerick call centre for help on Covid-19 helpline

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

HSE takes on workers let go from Limerick call centre for help on national helpline

Some workers at Arise lost out after Vodafone pulled a contract

AROUND 50 staff at a Limerick city call centre have been drafted into HSE crisis duty, as the Covid-19 pandemic intensifies in Ireland and around the world.

Raheen-based Arise, which shed 40 jobs after it was announced that Vodafone will be phasing out its contract this summer, is now supporting the HSE as it deals with the national coronavirus helpline.

The national helpline was understood to be overwhelmed with a large number of phone calls in the past week. But this additional 50 staff will mean an approximate 5,000 daily calls can be carried out, it is understood.

The Leader contacted Arise and the HSE about the new arrangement, and it has been verified.

The centre will not be a test centre, and will only assist with the HSE’s national call service. 

This arrangement is just one of many radical and urgent measures being carried out in the community, as the HSE comes to grips with the crisis in the Mid-West. 

Limerick GAA has confirmed that LIT Gaelic Grounds will operate as a drive-through, appointment-only testing centre, in addition to another centre in the southside of the city. 

It is understood that this service will be open early this week. There are plans for 50 test centres across the country, HSE CEO Paul Reid said at a press conference yesterday morning. 

Ireland has more than 500 public and private intensive care beds, and more than 1,000 ventilators, with a plan to procure more than 100 ventilators per week over the coming weeks. 

The HSE is inspecting a number of sites in Limerick for new testing facilities, it is understood. 

The Arise service is separate to the HSE Mid-West’s helpline, which operates seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm, and all phones are manned by clinical and public health experts. 

They can be contacted at 1890 300046, but only in relation to emergency matters, including if you’re a close or casual contact of a confirmed case.

Meanwhile, there are now 906 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland with 15 confirmed cases in Limerick.