The COVID-19 Testing Centre located at the Cleary Centre in Donegal town is to cease testing from June 17th, the HSE has confirmed.
The centre opened on September 27th 2020 and since then has carried out an estimated 33,701 swabs.
A statement said: “As COVID-19 moves from pandemic to endemic status this means a transition of the associated healthcare services from the current model to new operating models. To accommodate this, the Community Testing Service nationally will reduce in a gradual and controlled manner. This requires a transition from the as-is test centre infrastructure to a more ‘fit for purpose’ model in line with continued and observed reduction in demand.”
The Letterkenny centre will remain open as one overall testing footprint per county.
“It is important to note that notwithstanding the move to smaller test-centres, for the next number of months, PCR testing will continue to be available via self-referral or GP referral for those who require it based on public health advice,” the HSE said.
Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan Sligo Head of Service Primary Care Mandy Doyle thanked the many staff who have worked at the Cleary Centre in the last 19 months for their work. “We want to thank the staff who worked at this centre since September 2020 in so many roles. A lot of people in Donegal have attended this centre at some stage in the last 19 months, and they are aware of how staff there have carried out their work in the most professional and caring way.
“COVID-19 Testing for Donegal will be delivered solely from the current Covid-19 Test Centre at St Conal’s, Letterkenny from Friday 17th June 2022.”
With both the prevalence and impact of COVID-19 having significantly reduced throughout 2022, the HSE is now adapting the Testing and Tracing programme to respond to these changes, while at the same time make sure that both the infrastructure and staff are available if testing needs to scale back up quickly.
It’s expected that all testing centres will close later this year, once the public health advice changes for population testing. PCR testing will remain available for those who need it to access therapeutic treatments, or as part of their clinical treatment
For now, the St Conal’s centre will continue to offer appointments seven days a week. Appointments will be available via the self-referral portal on HSE.ie or GP referral for those who require it based on public health advice.
Chief Officer of Community Health Care Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo, Dermot Monaghan paid tribute to the staff at the centre: “The staff at the Cleary Centre testing facility played an absolutely critical role in our response to COVID-19. As Chief Officer, I want to acknowledge the work and commitment of everyone who has worked at the centre.
“I would also like to thank the people of Donegal for the significant effort made in to comply with public health guidelines that have enabled us to reach this stage in the fight against COVID-19.”
Staff at the Cleary Centre have been invited to apply for other suitable positions within Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo eg Health Care Support Assistants, clerical officers and Healthcare Assistants in our community hospitals.