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Hundreds fail to attend Covid appointments at Limerick test centres over Christmas

Lack of covid testing capacity discriminates against Donegal

More than 700 people failed to attend appointments for Covid tests over Christmas

MORE than 700 people failed to attend appointments for Covid-19 tests in Limerick over the Christmas period, the HSE has revealed.

Figures released by the Department of Public Health Mid West show that 715 people did not show up for appointments between Christmas Eve and December 28 (Monday).

Two test centres were in operation in Limerick over the five days - one at the former Wickes store, Ballysimon Road and a pop up centre on the campus of St Joseph's Hospital.

According to the figures, 140 people failed to attend on Christmas Eve. The figure was six on Christmas Day, 135 on St Stephen's Day, 232 on Sunday and 202 on Monday.

Despite the significant number of no shows, 3,022 tests were completed in Limerick between December 24 and December 28.

A total of 87 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Limerick last night - the highest daily figure since the pandemic began.

Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, says the figures are concerning. “We know that the virus has been widely circulating for nearly four weeks in the community, and spreading through extended social gatherings in the lead up to Christmas," she said.

 “However, while we continue to closely monitor the possible impact of Christmas celebrations, we fear that large household gatherings in recent days may have added an extra layer to what is already a complex situation locally. We do not want a situation whereby new household cases bring undetected Covid-19 to new settings in the community over the coming days This would make complex outbreaks increasingly more difficult to manage," she added.

The HSE is appealing to members of the public to make every effort to follow public health guidelines as this will help prevent serious illness and will protect the most vulnerable in society.

Public Health Mid-West is also asking people to answer phone calls from contact tracers, who are making every effort to track the spread of Covid-19.

"We are also urging members of the public who have arranged a Covid-19 swab to attend the test centre and at the allotted time, as we continue to see many people missing their appointments," added Dr Mannix.

Across the Mid West, a total of 960 people did not attend tests over Christmas.

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