Covid-19 testing centres have opened this week in UHG and Renmore, and a total of nine centres is expected to be in place across the west by the end of the week.
Along with the centres in Galway city, testing facilities will be available in Craughwell, Castlebar, and a number of other locations around the west of Ireland.
Speaking yesterday, Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer of the Saolta Group said that they have been clearing capacity in their hospitals to make space dedicated to treating COVID-19. He paid tribute to the teams who have taken on the challenge of combatting this virus.
“We have been moving testing out into the community. One is on the hospital grounds and is providing testing by appointment by people referred. We also have a testing site in Renmore and we are opening in Craughwell, Castlebar and at other locations around the three counties we cover. We aim to have centres up and running by the end of the week, and will have six of these running by today,” he said.
What to watch out for, what to do
All Covid-19 testing centres are operating by appointment only. People with symptoms are being asked to self-isolate, including from members of their household, and contact their GP to arrange a test.
The main symptoms to watch out for include a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, and fever or chills. The cough associated with Covid-19 is usually dry, though there have been cases of patients with the virus coughing up phlegm. Other symptoms which may occur include headaches, a sore throat, fatigue, and aches and pains.
Those who suspect they may have contracted Covid-19 should immediately self-isolate and then contact a GP by phone for a triage consultation, which will also be conducted over the phone. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital.
The GP will assess you over the phone, and if s/he thinks you need to be tested for coronavirus, a test will be arranged.
Some 30,000 testing kits were due in Ireland this week as part of plans to significantly increase testing across the country.
Testing is free and is available through any GP surgery, and you do not have to be registered with a GP to avail of this service. In a joint statement this week, the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish College of General Practitioners confirmed that the service would be freely available to everyone who required it.