The HSE used a former Garda station in Co Clare today as a pop-up facility to test people for Covid-19 as part of its ongoing contact-tracing procedures.
People who believed to have had contact with any person diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus were invited to attend the centre where National Ambulance Service staff took swabs and carried out a preliminary assessment.
People were swabbed and accessed before a determination was made whether they needed to be admitted to hospital or self-isolate for a specified period.
Figures for how many people availed of the testing were not available however a number of vehicles could be seen parked outside the building at various times during the afternoon.
The OPW-owned building, and former Garda station, was identified and secured by the HSE for the service.
A HSE spokesperson said: “The HSE can confirm, for a short period of time, a facility in Lahinch, Co Clare was used on Friday 6th March for pre-determined testing.”
“The people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus infection have been interviewed in depth by the Department of Public Health and their contacts who are at risk of infection have been identified. This is contact tracing.
During the contact tracing process people who have been identified as a contact of the case are categorised as either having ‘close’ contact or ‘casual’ contact. These definitions are based on international best practice and reflect how long the person was in contact with the case and the closeness of physical contact,” the spokesperson added.
“We are in the process of communicating with these close and casual contacts. People who live in the communities around these cases, who have not been identified as part of this process, are at the same risk of coronavirus infection as other people living in Ireland,” the spokesperson added.
A new helpline – 1890 300046 – has also been launched to provide information and support to the public in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary who are considered a casual contact or close contact of confirmed cases in the Mid West.
The HSE Mid West Helpline Opening Hours (1890 300046) seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.
The HSE said however that all general queries should be directed to the national HSE Live telephone line at 1850 24 1850.
Meanwhile, a secondary school in North Clare that remained closed yesterdat ‘pending advice from the HSE regarding Covid-19’, reopened today. It’s understood the school was closed amid fears that a student had come into contact with a person confirmed with the virus.
It’s also understood, according to one parent, that there was a low turnout of students with just two students from one class of twenty attending today.