A COVID-19 test centre which can conduct up to 1,000 tests a day has opened this week in Limerick.
Located at the East Point Retail Park on the Ballysimon Road (old Wickes site), the new facility “will offer free testing for anyone who is referred by a GP”, a HSE spokesman said.
“The centre is part of the HSE’s drive to improve accessibility for coronavirus testing for local communities”, and “when fully operational can cater for up to 1000 tests per day if demand requires,” he explained.
On Tuesday, which was its first full day of operation, 445 appointments were offered and 395 tests were completed at the Ballysimon Centre.
Two test centres which had been operating at the Gaelic Grounds on the Ennis Road and at St Joseph’s Health Campus on Mulgrave Street are now closed.
“Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face-covering throughout, including travelling to and from the testing centre,” the spokesman said.
HSE Mid West Community Healthcare Chief Officer, Maria Bridgeman, said the new test centre is an indoor facility which is very much welcomed at this time of the year, and includes ten test bays catering for up to 1000 tests per day”.
Ms Bridgeman added: “I want to express my sincere thanks to the GAA and their staff in Limerick who have been so accommodating to the HSE in the mid-west in supporting our testing requirements at the Gaelic grounds and at Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale.”
A free walk-in Covid-19 test centre opened at the Rathkeale GAA grounds for one day last month.
Ms Bridgeman urged the public to “continue to adhere to all public health guidelines as the HSE continues it’s response to Covid 19”.
Appointments at the new test centre in Ballysimon will be offered from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.
“The HSE is strongly urging those offered an appointment for testing to please attend,” Ms Bridgeman said.
Rules for attending the test centre
– You can drive yourself if you feel well enough. If not, someone in your household can drive you. If you have a child who has an appointment to be tested, you can drive them to the centre.
– Do not go to a drive-thru test centre unless you are in a car and have an appointment – you will not be seen otherwise.
– Stay in your car at all times.
– Follow the signs and the directions of staff.
– A healthcare worker will ask you to open your window.
– They’ll direct you to a test bay to take your test sample – do not get out of car.
– A healthcare worker will take your personal details – this is so they can contact you with your results.
– Another will take two swabs from inside the back of your throat and nose – this may be uncomfortable but it won’t be painful.
– You should drive home and keep self-isolation.