Public Covid-19 tests in Donegal were constrained in the last week due to a lack of testing kits, the HSE has confirmed.
Testing has been cancelled in the Letterkenny drive through clinic at O’Donnell park again today after weekend tests were also cancelled.
The HSE has today announced that testing kit stocks have been replenished following low stock numbers since Sunday 29th March.
However, a global shortage in reagent to carry out tests in laboratories continues to be a challenge for the health service.
“Over the last number of weeks the number of hospitals providing Covid-19 testing has increased. However provision of reagent and extraction kits will remain a major challenge for the foreseeable future until the major suppliers ramp up production,” said a spokesperson for the HSE CHO-1 area.
The HSE is set to continue to prioritise testing of healthcare workers and in-patients in acute hospitals and across residential facilities.
“We apologise to all those waiting for test results and we wish to reassure the public that we are making every endeavour to improve turnaround times within the current international constraints,” a spokesperson said.
“Testing is performed for public health as opposed to clinical reasons, and patients waiting for results should continue to self-isolate for 14 days.”
The two public test centres in Donegal are located at St Eunans GAA O’ Donnell Park in Letterkenny and Lakeside Caravan and Camping Centre, Belleek Road, Ballyshannon.
The sites may operate from 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday, but operational procedures/times are subject to change.
Testing is by way of GP referral only and those coming for testing must have an appointment.
The HSE’s revised testing protocol will now provide tests only to patients who are in a priority group or those with a high risk of exposure to Covid-19, who also have symptoms of fever and at least one other sign.
People who meet the criteria for testing are advised to phone your GP to be assessed for a test. The GP will assess you over the phone. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Advice for patients is available at https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/self-isolation-and-limited-social-interaction.html
The HSE has launched a children’s comic strip with advice for young people visiting test centres, available at: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/getting-ready-to-go-to-the-test-centre-comic-.pdf