HEALTH officials are awaiting the confirmation of the delivery of a new batch of Covid-19 testing kits before scheduling further appointments in Donegal beyond today.
Testing will resume this afternoon at O’Donnell Park in Letterkenny this afternoon having been cancelled yesterday.
There has only been limited testing this week at the two drive-thru test centres in Donegal, at O’Donnell Park and at Ballyshannon’s Lakeside Centre, due to a lack of specialised testing equipment.
Testing was scheduled yesterday in Ballyshannon and the process is expected to resume in Letterkenny this afternoon.
“We are awaiting confirmation of the next expected delivery of testing kits and further appointments will be scheduled once this is known,” a HSE spokesperson told Donegal Daily.
“All clients are informed of which centre to attend for their test in advance.
“Testing capacity has been constrained since Sunday March 29th due to stock limitations of testing kits.”
Across the country, there are nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs).
The demand for tests has significantly decreased in CHO 1, an area taking in five counties, including Donegal, following the change in case definition, announced on March 24. The new measure was designed to ensure that testing was ‘targeted to high-risk groups and those at risk of exposure to Covid-19.’
However, test facilities have been under strain due to a shortage of reagent.
The HSE spokesperson said: “Nationally, there are significant challenges in terms of supplies of reagent for Covid testing at laboratories.
“As referenced in international media this is a global problem with major suppliers having to ration supplies across the world.
“We continue to prioritise testing of healthcare workers and in-patients in acute hospitals and residential facilities.
“We apologise to all those waiting for tests and we wish to reassure the public that we are making every endeavour to improve turnaround times within the current international constraints.”
The HSE continues to explore the procurement of reagent from intentional sources, while additional laboratories have been brought on-line. This week the HSE Public Analyst Laboratory at Cherry Orchard and a Department of Agriculture laboratory have added additional capacity.
The spokesperson added: “Testing is performed for public health as opposed to clinical reasons, and patients waiting for results should continue to self-isolate for 14 days.
“Acknowledging the delay in testing we are beginning direct contact tracing of high-risk groups in advance of test results.”
To date, there have been 68 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Donegal.
In the Republic of Ireland, 98 people have died after contracting the virus and there have been 3,849 cases confirmed across the country. Yesterday, 402 new cases were confirmed by health officials – the biggest daily increase since the outbreak.Tags: