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Two new walk-in test centres to open in Donegal amid concerning rate of Covid-19

The national 14-day incidence rate is 134.4 per 100,000 people while the latest incidence rate in Donegal stands at 307.8 cases per 100,000 people.

TWO NEW WALK-in testing centres are to be set up in Co Donegal amid concerns over a high incidence of Covid-19 in recent weeks. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said today that the GAA Centre at Convoy will open for people with no symptoms to get tested from Saturday to Monday 11am to 7pm while the GAA Club Park in Cardonagh will open between Tuesday and Thursday next week from 11am to 7pm. 

The new test centres come on stream after health officials raised fears over widespread flouting of restrictions in Donegal in recent weeks. 

Donnelly earlier this week confirmed another testing centre would open at Milford while the Letterkenny walk-in centre remains in place for the foreseeable future. 

Gardaí in Donegal on Tuesday announced a dedicated phone line for reporting Covid-19 breaches which was met with criticism from local independent TD Thomas Pringle who asked yesterday ”on what planet is this Government” if its response to Covid outbreaks in Donegal is the setting up of a Garda hotline.

Donnelly recently met with public health officials, the HSE and Donegal politicians to discuss additional supports for the county, which has seen its Covid-19 incidence rate creep well over the national average. 

The national 14-day incidence rate is 134.4 per 100,000 people, according to Wednesday’s figures, while the latest incidence rate in Donegal stands at 307.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Last week Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said public health officials were reporting “reasonably widespread non-compliance with basic measures”. 

Pringle said Donegal was highlighted as “the worst county in class in terms of its continuing high rates of Covid-19″. 

The highest rates of infections are in Milford and Letterkenny, said Pringle, whereas infections in the south of the county are very low, around three times lower than the national average.

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Speaking about the dedicated phone line – which Pringle dubbed a “rat line – a tout line through which neighbours are asked to tout on neighbours” – Pringle said “that is crazy” if that is the response to the situation from “officialdom”.

“We need walk-in test centres and vaccination clinics in Donegal and extension of the current centres and clinics for more than one week to ensure that people can get tested, not a hotline through which people are being encouraged to inform on their friends and neighbours in respect of breaches of the Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.

“It will do nothing but set back the response in the county,” he added.

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