Testing to be ramped up in battle against Covid-19

MacHale Park to be used as testing centre

Lockdown: The playground at Castlebar Town Park is one of number of facilities that have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdown: The playground at Castlebar Town Park is one of number of facilities that have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The HSE hopes to have a Covid-19 drive-through testing facility open in Castlebar early next week, to complement the one already in operation in the county town at the new Castlebar Leisure Centre, just off Lannagh Road in the town.

The new drive through testing facility will be located at Elvery's MacHale Park the home ground of Mayo GAA - the Mayo GAA executive confirmed the news yesterday afternoon. 

The first drive through testing facility in the west opened at the old Galway Airport on Wednesday and is capable of testing 1,000 patients a day. All testing centres are by appointment only, through your GP. If you turn up without an appointment, unfortunately you will be turned away.

GPs can now make electronic referrals using the Swiftqueue system. Community Healthcare West utilise 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 in their Community Healthcare Organisations.

If you are given an appointment for testing the HSE is advising that you should remember to: (1 ) Have your appointment details ready; (2 ) If it is a drive-in testing centre please stay in your vehicle and follow the advice of our team; (3 ) If it is a walk-in testing location please follow the advice of our team and (4 ) You will find additional information on COVID-19 on www.hse.ie

The latest number of positive tests for Covid-19 in Mayo on Thursday evening was 14, with 1,819 confirmed cases across the country and 14 deaths from the virsus. 

In a video posted on Twitter by the Saolta Group, which comprises the hospitals in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Ballinasloe, Letterkenny and Sligo, Aidan O'Shea, Consultant in Critical Care Medicine at Mayo University Hospital, said: "The vast majority of us who contract Covid-19 will experience a mild illness, but some will be hospitalised and some will require critical care. Over the last number of weeks both here at Mayo University Hospital and all across the Saolta Group, critical care teams have been working really hard to ensure we have facilities in place to manage patients. It is the responsability of all of us to take action. If you have a fever or cough, stay at home and take advice from your GP, we can not stop the virus but working together we can flatten the curve."

Chief Pharmacist at Mayo University Hospital, Geraldine Colohan, also outlined the work her department has been doing to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, saying: "Over the past number of weeks we have been working together to plan to ensure that we can provide all services for our patients with suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19. We have divided our pharmacy team into two teams, extended our working day to ensure that we are here and available to provide services for our patients. We have identified the drugs that we might need and ensured that we have sufficient supplies of them available. We're working closely with our medical and nursing colleagues, working on guidelines to ensure that we can provide safe care for all our patients."

Earlier this week the Government announced a rash of new restrictions to try and curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, including the closing of non-essential retail outlets, with essential shops to implement strict physical distancing measures - essential businesses allowed to remain open include food shops, pharmacies, post offices, banks, credit unions and hardware shops. It also cancelled all sporting events, including those behind closed doors. The order will be in effect until at least Sunday, April 19.


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