The HSE has revealed that contact tracers are receiving a “hostile” reception from some people deemed close contacts of a positive case of Covid-19.
The HSE said that calls are becoming more complex and are taking longer.
A spokesperson told RTE “The response from some people can be hostile as they are not happy to be identified as a close contact, and informed that they must restrict their movements.”
Close contacts are advised to isolate for 14 days and to undertake two separate tests for Covid-19.
The time it takes to trace such contacts has almost doubled since schools returned.
“Our turnaround time for contact tracing was 1-1.2 days until the return of schools. Since the schools returned the turnaround time has moved to closer to two days,” the HSE said.
280 contact tracers made more than 10,000 calls last week and recruitment is under way to bring the total number of tracers to 500. But some cases are experiencing lengthy delays.
Most people now have more than six close contacts and in a school setting the average figure is 30 close contacts.
“The aim is to complete all three contact tracing calls within 1-1.5 days. There is a 12 hour window where no calls can be made (8pm-8am) and it is dependent on people answering our calls,” the HSE told the programme.
There is also increasing concern over the number of people who are not attending for Covid-19 tests.
Close contacts are referred for two tests – one on day zero, which is the date they are identified as a contact, and again seven days after they were in contact with the confirmed case.
Latest figures show that while 91% of close contacts attend the first swab, just 65% of people are undergoing the follow-up test.