Large numbers attend for testing at local Covid-19 pop-up centre

Local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, is pictured at the Covid-19 pop-up test centre in Ballinasloe

Local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, is pictured at the Covid-19 pop-up test centre in Ballinasloe

A Covid-19 testing centre which opened on the grounds of the Athlone Regional Sports Centre on Friday last conducted 936 swabs for the presence of the virus in the four day period to Easter Monday, a HSE representative confirmed to the Athlone Advertiser on Tuesday afternoon.

The temporary testing facility, operated by the HSE Public Health Department and the local Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO ), working with the National Ambulance Service, opened from 11am to 7pm for a five day period, closing on Tuesday.

Initially offering Covid-19 tests to those within a 5km radius of the location, it was decided to increase the distance for swabbing purposes to those residing 15km from the Athlone Regional Sports Centre.

The purpose of the testing centre was to detect asymptomatic cases in order to ensure that individuals carrying Covid-19 (without showing signs of the virus ), self-isolate so as to protect others.

Busy Ballinasloe Temporary Test Centre

Meanwhile, close to 700 individuals had been tested for the presence of Covid-19 on Tuesday afternoon at the walk-in test centre operating in Ballinasloe. The temporary facility is now closed.

Speaking following its closure, local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, noted the success of the facility and the prompt turnaround time with regard to the Covid-19 results issued.

“I visited the Townhall carpark Covid-19 facility on Friday morning and had the test conducted within 10 minutes. The results were back by text to my phone within a day. I was delighted to know it was a negative result.

“It really was an excellent turnaround time and a great way to know that you’re safe and that you’re family and friends are safe too. Covid-19 impacts on people of all ages and particularly those with a vulnerable or underlying condition.

“In Ballinasloe, the catchment area with regard to taking the test was a distance of 15 kilometres from the facility, so individuals from all around Clontuskert, Ahascragh, Kilconnell, Moore, Taughmaconnell and Shannonbridge could avail of the temporary Covid-19 pop-up centre.

“The vaccination roll-out is ramping up with supply for the next few months. However in the meantime, it’s so crucial to keep washing hands, wearing a mask, ensure two metre social distance, avoid meeting people, adhere to the guidelines and reduce the risk especially with more infectious strains in circulation. Soon we will be in a better and safer place for everyone.

“I would like to thank the schools and clubs that also encouraged young people to get tested and keep their families safe and also to pay tribute to the excellent organisation between Community Healthcare West and the local paramedics from the National Ambulance Service as well as Civil Defence as well as Galway County Council and the local Gardai,” Senator Dolan concluded.


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