Drive-through Covid-19 testing centre to test 1,000 people a day

Volunteer NUIG students Dave Watterson, Lara Mullins, Deirdre McGreevey, Olga Carey, and Maura Dowling at the Covid 19 testing centre at Galway Airport, Carnmore on Wednesday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy.

Volunteer NUIG students Dave Watterson, Lara Mullins, Deirdre McGreevey, Olga Carey, and Maura Dowling at the Covid 19 testing centre at Galway Airport, Carnmore on Wednesday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy.

The first drive-through HSE Covid-19 testing centre in the West of Ireland, which is based at Galway Airport, will be able to test 1,000 people a day when it is fully operational.

The service, which opened on Wednesday, is the sixth testing centre in the Community Healthcare West area which takes in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon.

These are all appointment-only facilities and people who attend must be referred by their GP and have an appointment arranged. Those who turn up without an appointment will unfortunately be turned away.

The five pre-existing centres include two in Galway city and one in the county as well as one in both Castlebar and Roscommon town.

The HSE has established community testing centres across all nine of its national community healthcare organisations. This figure will increase to 34 locations in the coming days.

A drive-through facility is expected to open in Castlebar early next week and the HSE is looking at further locations in Roscommon.

GPs can now make electronic referrals using the Swiftqueue system. Community Healthcare West utilises an integrated appointment system which provides people referred for testing with confirmation of their appointment by text and details of the location of the community Covid-19 testing clinic. In the interim, people have been offered appointments by telephone by staff from the local community healthcare organisation.

A spokesperson for the health authority said It has been an "enormous undertaking" to get all sites, especially the airport testing centre, up and running in a matter of days.

"Community Healthcare West is extremely grateful to Galway County Council, NUI Galway, the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, the National Ambulance Service, and our colleagues throughout the health services for their support, especially the Saolta University Health Care Group. Lastly but by no means least, our own staff in Community Healthcare West have who have changed their working arrangements at short notice to work long hours, weekends, and bank holidays.

"There has been an unprecedented level of demand for tests and we thank the people of Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon for their patience and understanding at this time. Many of those who attend for testing will have a negative result, however by ensuring testing occurs where needed, we will be in a position to provide services to those who need it most, and minimise the risk to our wider community."

If you are given an appointment to attend for testing:

· Have your appointment details ready.

· If it is a drive-in testing centre stay in your vehicle and follow the advice of the health team.

· If it is a walk-in testing location follow the same guidelines.

· For additional information on Covid-19 see www.hse.ie

 

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