1. If you were referred for testing by your GP and HAVE NOT received a phone call with a date and time for a testing appointment by now, you will not now be getting tested.
2. Only patients who have symptoms of fever PLUS cough or PLUS shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms will be tested.
3. If you have not received a test appointment BUT still have the symptoms mentioned in point 2, you need to contact your GP again to be re-sent for testing.
4. The GP can ONLY refer patients with the symptoms in point 2.
5. If you have been referred for testing and still have symptoms THAT ARE NOT the symptoms in point 2 then you need to continue to self-isolate as per the HSE guidelines linked here: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/self-isolation-and-limited-social-interaction.html
6. If, while self-isolating, you develop the symptoms in point 2, contact your GP.
In an ideal world full of infinite supplies of Covid19 test kits and infinite supplies of medical professionals to process the testing and infinite time in which to test....
We would test everyone.
We would test multiple times, we might test everyone, every day.
Unfortunately, this is not realistic so we have to decide who to test.
A week ago, it seemed reasonable to test as many people as possible.
We were testing at a rate of 3,679 people per million of population until yesterday.
Admirable and it puts us among the leading countries, if we rank by number tested.
However, it now turns out that 90%+ of these tests came back negative.
While this is good news for the individual tested, it's not helping.
We need to know who has the virus, not who doesn't.
So, we need to test less people and try to test only those who are more likely to have the virus. Public Health call this 'Tightening the Case Definition' which leads to changes in the testing guidelines to those in Point 2 above.
We should now see a much higher % of positives which is actually a good thing as it means that contact tracing can be effective.
With the incresed capacity, the testing can now focus on at-risk populations and those at highest risk of exposure.
I hope this helps make a bit more sense of these changes.
Next: What to do if you have symptoms that do not qualify you for testing......
As you will know, GPs can only refer patients for Covid19 tests who fit the current criteria for testing - meaning a fever plus either cough or shortness of breath, along with being in one of the at risk groups.
Since Monday 16th March, GPs can order a test for Covid-19 by electronic referral following a phone consultation with the patient..........
As we all know by now, we have seen the first cases of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland over the past few days.
We have yet to receive confirmation of the delivery date for the 2019 'Flu vaccines but we hope to have them by end of September.
We will update once we know more...
Wishing all our patients, colleagues and friends a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.