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HSE Chief Operations Officer Anne O'Connor. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Coming back

Number of people attending Irish emergency departments begins to creep up as Covid fears lower

Mass testing of nursing home residents and staff at the facilities is also now complete.

THE NUMBER OF people attending emergency departments across the country is slowly increasing as Covid-19 is suppressed in the community. 

Irish hospitals are seeing more people coming through their doors for non-Covid related illnesses but the levels are still at a much lower level when compared to last year’s figures. 

Speaking at a briefing this morning, the HSE’s chief operations officer, Anne O’Connor, detailed how the Irish public is beginning to come back to health facilities across the country. 

O’Connor said that attendance at emergency departments was up 2% last week. However, when compared to the same week last year, there was still 22% fewer people attending the nation’s emergency department. 

Despite the low numbers, O’Connor described how increasing numbers of people over 75 years of age are now coming back to the EDs. 

“We are seeing that the older population are presenting more in line with previous years and are being admitted more,” she said. 

The briefing also heard that a total of 310,000 tests have been completed in Ireland and that 35,000 were taken in the last week. 

Of those tests, the current positivity rate is 2%, according to the HSE’s CEO Paul Reid. 

Reid also explained that the average time it will take someone to get an appointment for a test, have a swab taken and then get their results is 2.3 days. 

He added that the mass testing of nursing home residents and staff at the facilities was now complete. 

The briefing also heard that there is a delay in the rollout of the contact tracing app. It had been intended to have it available to general public by the end of this month. However, Paul Reid said he now expects the smartphone app to be available sometime in June. 

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