HSE issues advice on Covid-19 testing centres, hospital and community services

Testing is done by appointment only following GP referral

News Reporter

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coronavirus covid-19

Coronavirus / Covid-19 advice notice issued.

Based on the latest evidence of the spread of Covid-19, the National Public Health Emergency Team recommended that Ireland move to the Delay Phase on Thursday, March 12.

The delay phase is designed to interrupt the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, by advising reductions on social interactions. This phase requires a community effort, every citizen acting responsibly in order to protect our vulnerable and elderly members of society.

We would like to assure you that the hospitals across the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group /RCSI Hospital Group /Ireland East Hospital Group and Community Healthcare CHO 7 and CHO 8 are working together to ensure that we are as prepared as possible to manage the current Covid-19 Crisis.

The hospital and community services are implementing all of the advice provided by the National Public Health Emergency Team and the HSE’s Covid-19 Oversight Group.

The main objective in the current phase is to limit and slow down the spread of the virus, to keep the number of affected people to a minimum and reduce peak pressure on the health service.

Dublin Midlands Hospital Group/RCSI Hospital Group/Ireland East Hospital Group

We are working closely with the teams in Public Health, Microbiology and Infection Control and have the necessary plans in place to accommodate patients admitted with Covid-19 infection. We will continue to review and amend our plans as the situation evolves, in line with national guidance.

All of the hospitals and community healthcare settings have introduced visiting restrictions in the interests of patient care and as an additional infection control measure.

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To free up capacity in our hospitals, we will be reducing the number of inpatient, day case, outpatient and diagnostic appointments and procedures over the coming weeks. We will be contacting patients directly in relation to their appointment or procedure. Up to date information on hospital service disruptions and visiting restrictions (Covid-19) is available here.

Community Healthcare

At this time of crisis, Community Services are committed and engaged in supporting our Hospital Group partners and others within our communities and geographic areas. Staff across all disciplines are coming together to mobilise every community resource available to provide services as close to our service users as possible ‘Right Care in the Right Place at the Right time.’

As from today, there are a number of Testing Centres established around the country. The testing is done by appointment only following referral by a GP or Public Health professional. The decision to be referred for a test is a clinical decision. There is no self-referral or walk-ins.

The results of the tests will be provided as soon as possible but during this period you should continue to self-isolate. Realistically, the timeline from referral to testing to results will be two to three days but all parts of the HSE are committed to progressing this as soon as possible.

National Update

As of today, March 16, the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland is 169. You will be aware that information relating to the precise location of these cases is not being released by the Department of Health in order to protect patient confidentiality; however the HSE rapidly works to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

It is important throughout this situation that we ensure patient confidentiality is maintained as would be the case for any patient within a hospital setting.

The Taoiseach last week announced a set of actions that the HSE will undertake. These include:

  • Strengthening public health capacity for contact tracing and response.
  • Freeing up as much space as possible in hospitals, and in particular ensuring maximum capacity in intensive care and high-dependency units.
  • Developing and scaling community-based responses, such as home testing, remote management of mild to moderately ill patients at home and the provision of dedicated Covid-19 services outside hospitals.
  • Continuing to build and galvanise community awareness and preventative actions.
  • Increasing capacity in the health service, through increased staffing, overtime and redeployment.
  • The opening of additional acute and critical care capacity and the restriction of elective capacity.
  • Increasing the capacity of the National Ambulance Service.
  • Centralised procurement of additional essential equipment, such as Personal Protective Equipment, ventilation equipment, dialysis equipment, portable radiography equipment and additional fleet for community care.
  • Greater use of technology and telephone support.

The HSE website (www.hse.ie) is updated daily with information that answers many of the questions the public may have. This includes:

  • Symptoms, causes and treatment of coronavirus
  • At-risk groups and coronavirus
  • How to protect yourself and others
  • Self-isolation and self-quarantine

It is very important that everyone follows the advice provided by the HSE in relation to continuously observing good hand hygiene practice and respiratory etiquette when coughing or sneezing.

Read also: HSE approved ways to protect yourself and others against the Coronavirus

We are particularly aware that older people may have additional concerns and worries about the spread of this disease. To ensure they have access to the information they need, Alone has established an information helpline at 0818 222 024.

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 spread of whatever infection they have.

The public should go to the HSE website in the first instance if they are concerned about Covid-19. Comprehensive information about Coronavirus/ Covid-19 is available at www.hse.ie.

Websites are being updated daily; for the latest information about Covid-19 please see: