There has been an unprecedented demand for Covid-19 PCR testing both locally and across the entire country recently, according to a spokesperson for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare.
'Our staff in Cork are doing everything possible to meet this exceptional level of demand. Despite their best efforts, we are not currently able to offer everyone a test as quickly as we would like.'
In order to meet the need for testing across Cork they are continuing to recruit swabbers for the testing system, and this recruitment campaign is still open, while the national ambulance service is assisting and allowing them to provide additional testing capacity. Extra testing is in place at locations across the county (eg in Youghal in East Cork, and later this week in Mallow in North Cork).
'We would like to pay tribute to the staff at Ballinacarriga who have been working extremely hard recently, including during some very challenging weather conditions.'
'We understand that it can be frustrating for someone finding it difficult to book a test, but we ask the public to be patient and to bear with us. If you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have had a positive antigen test, it’s very important that you self-isolate and stay at home. The full current guidance on when to restrict you movement (stay at home) or self-isolate (stay in your room) are on hse.ie on this page - https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19/testing/get-tested/.
In particular, people aged between 4 and 39 years old who have symptoms of Covid-19 should first conduct antigen testing over a series of days. They can book these antigen tests online at HSE.ie and these will be delivered to their home.
'We prioritise PCR testing for those most at risk, including older age groups, those identified by their GP as requiring PCR testing, and close contacts of a confirmed cases of COVID 19 who have symptoms. PCR testing will also continue to be prioritised for Health Care Workers and other vulnerable groups.'
The national capacity for testing across the country is now 300,000 per week, plus 350,000 antigen tests per week, providing a total capacity of 650,000 tests per week between PCR and antigen.