We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Sasko Lazarov

Full Covid-19 testing and tracing will be provided during the Christmas period

The Covid facilities will have to be fully resourced over the holidays, says the HSE.

THE HSE SAYS it is planning to run its contact tracing roster at “full capacity” over the holiday period. 

In a statement to, the HSE said rosters can vary slightly from day to day. On average there are 250-300 contact tracers rostered each day.

“While the rosters for the Christmas period have not yet been finalised, it is planned to have the full capacity over the holiday period,” it said.

In terms of whether test centres will be up and running on Christmas Day, Stephen’s Day and throughout the holiday week, the HSE said: 

“Community Testing Services are to be provided over 7 days per week and this includes the Christmas and New Year period.  A detailed plan is being finalised.”

A HSE representative said today that if someone needs to get a test over the Christmas period “we will be there and available to all throughout the period”.

They said serial testing at high-risk environments like food production services, as well as nursing homes, will also continue.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the health service is on to track to having nearly 800 contact tracers working in centres around the country.

It has been confirmed that the Defence Forces are also trained to carry out testing and tracing if needed.

HSE boss Paul Reid said last week that there are concerns about a “lag effect” of rising cases hitting during the post-Christmas peak, and that this concern would go beyond Christmas. 

Reid said they traditionally have to ensure general services are rostered for throughout the Christmas period. 

The same will be done for testing and tracing staff, as well as on-call GPs, who will work this Christmas.

He said work is ongoing in terms determining what would be the appropriate engagement with those who need to be contacted over the holidays, in terms of “what time is appropriate to call people” on Christmas Day and over the holidays.

He said it’s about “getting the right balance”.

Reid said the “virus won’t take a break”, but added that the health services, and the Covid testing and tracing facilities will have to be resourced.

“We need all the chains to link up,” he said.

Out of hours GP services will be relied upon on Christmas Day and the weekend that follows, which the HSE said is normally how services are managed over the holidays.

Talks with GPs about the arrangements over the holidays are close to finalisation, said the HSE.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel