FOURTEEN tests, on average, a day were provided in the Letterkenny Covid-19 testing centre in the first nine days of this month, new figures reveal.
ST Eunan’s GAA club pitches have been used by the HSE as a drive-through Covid-19 testing centre since March 27. The test centre in Letterkenny has completed 2,478 tests, and includes the tests in St Conal’s before the move to O’Donnell park.
However, given that Letterkenny has the facilities in place to carry out 300 tests per day, it is currently working at less than five per cent capacity.
“We continue to have this capacity but as a demand led service we remain responsive to the needs in the community. Testing is delivered to those referred. In the first nine days of June 126 testing appointments were offered in the Letterkenny Testing Centre,” a spokesperson for the HSE confirmed to the Donegal News yesterday evening.
Covid-19 testing ceased at a second Donegal venue, the Lakeside Camping and Caravan Centre, Ballyshannon, last Friday due to the reduced demand for testing. Ten tests were provided at the Ballyshannon Testing Centre in the first four days of June.
“Letterkenny and Ballyshannon have a 100 per cent record of same day or next day testing in the week from 1st of June to 7th of June.
“There is a no plan to discontinue testing in Letterkenny. The ongoing provision of testing will be in line with NPHET guidelines,” the HSE said.
The appointment system converted to an automated system on June 3 and testing is available in Letterkenny seven days per week.
With GAA activities expected to resume in the coming weeks, the HSE is looking at the possibility of moving the test centre to another location.
“This is being considered and planned for. In line with the likely requirement for testing to continue throughout 2020 and in the early months of 2021, any change of location will need to be suitable to less favourable weather conditions.
“Testing will continue to be provided as a key activity in the Public Health response to the management of Covid for the foreseeable future,” the HSE spokeswoman said.
At present, a team of forty health care professionals – made up of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dieticians – carry out the tests in Letterkenny.
They are supplemented by members of the local St Eunan’s GAA club who provide volunteers to look after traffic management while the Civil Defence provide vehicular support.
Posted: 5:30 pm June 12, 2020