Coronavirus Covid-19 testing being expanded says GPs
The HSE says it is working this weekend to ensure that sufficient testing facilities are in place by Monday to meet the increased demand.
The HSE says GP Out of Hours Services, HSELive and 112/999 have been receiving a very high number of calls today from people seeking access to testing for COVID-19.
While GPs have had access for some time to testing through the National Ambulance Service, given the increased requirement for testing, the HSE says it is working to have new electronic processes operational from Monday, March 16 next to allow General Practitioners more easily order testing for patients where clinically indicated.
Members of the public who have normal cold and flu-like symptoms or who believe they may have been in contact with COVID-19 are being asked to self-isolate and to ring their GP on Monday, who will then be in a position to triage patients appropriately and order a test where indicated.
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GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms.
HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public.
The public are asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE said the HSE is responding to increased demands for tests.
“While we appreciate people’s concern about COVID-19, we would ask for their patience as we respond to the increasing requirement for testing. I completely understand people feeling concern and anxiety.
"We will all work together as a health service to provide the information you need, and to provide the testing and health care needed for those who do develop illness due to COVID-19.
"The public should go to the HSE website in the first instance if they are concerned about COVID-19,” he said.
To limit the spread of COVID – 19 people should;
- practice social distancing and avoid crowded places,
- wash their hands properly and often,
- cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze,
- clean and disinfect frequently touched surface,
- stay at home if they are sick to avoid the spread of whatever infection they have.
Comprehensive information about Coronavirus/ COVID-19 is available at www.hse.ie.