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HSE urges public to apply for paid testing, swabbing and contact tracing roles

At this morning’s HSE briefing, CEO Reid said that 3,000 tests have been completed among meat plant workers.

HSE CEO Paul Reid
HSE CEO Paul Reid
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE HSE IS urging the public to apply for testing, swabbing and contact tracing positions over the coming weeks, HSE CEO Paul Reid said today. 

Speaking this morning, Reid said that the average number of tests carried out per day last week was 12,000.

Almost 62,000 tests were completed across the 46 labs in the last week, he added, with 16,000 of the swabs taken part of serial testing of healthcare and meat plant workers.

Resources have been redeployed throughout Covid-19 to meet testing demand at various points, Reid said, adding that the HSE will be seeking applications for paid roles in testing, swabbing and contact tracing in the coming weeks. 

“We’d urge the public to put forward their names [for these roles],” Reid said. 

Over 375 HSE corporate staff have been deployed to testing and contact tracing, it was confirmed. A significant number of clinical staff were also deployed to take swabs when health services were stood down in the early days of Covid-19. 

At this morning’s HSE briefing, Reid said that 3,000 tests have been completed among meat plant workers as part of the HSE’s serial testing programme, with a positivity rate of 0.4%.

Testing will be expanded to workers in other food processing sectors such as fish and mushrooms, he said. 

Plans for serial testing in Direct Provision centres, which have seen a number of outbreaks in recent weeks, are “well commenced”.

HSE Chief Operations Officer Dr Anne O’Connor, meanwhile, said there were 156 patients on trolleys this morning.

O’Connor said “trolleys are different” this year as many Emergency Departments have set up dedicated isolation spaces, adding that numbers are still significantly down on the 400 or so patients on trolleys this time last year.

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It comes after health officials confirmed one further deaths form Covid-19 in Ireland and 89 new cases. 

The chair of NPHET’s Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan said yesterday that an analysis of new cases in the past week found that the epidemic is growing “very slowly” across Ireland. 

At this morning’s briefing, CEO Reid warned that a “significant proportion” of people arriving for tests are giving incorrect details which is delaying the delivery of their test result.

Giving a landline number, Reid said, means that a text cannot be sent.

Dr Sarah Doyle, HSE Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said that about one in five contacts of a symptomatic case are found to be positive by the HSE’s contact tracing teams while one in 20 contacts of an asymptomatic case are positive. 

With reporting by Michelle Hennessy at the HSE Briefing 

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