THE HSE has been urged to re-establish a Covid test centre in North Cork in light of the soaring incidence rate of the virus across the area over recent days.
The call has come from Mallow-based Labour TD Seán Sherlock, who said he was at a loss to understand the HSE’s refusal to set up a test centre covering the region.
Deputy Sherlock’s comments have come exactly a year after he called for the re-opening of the test centre that had been operating at the Cork Racecourse in Mallow.
Back then he was told that a HSE assessment of suitable locations for test centres had found that those operating in Cork City and in West Cork were sufficient to ensure that more than 90% of the population had access to a centre within a 45-minute drive of their home.
Speaking this week Deputy Sherlock once again described the previous responses from the HSE as “disappointing” saying it once again showed “an unwillingness to restore Covid testing in an accessible fashion”.
He said the significant increase in Covid cases has highlighted the need for a test centre in North Cork, citing the example of one woman from the area who was unable to book a test at a centre anywhere in Cork last Monday.
“The woman told me she went online only to find out that there were no appointments available at any of the Cork centres. While there were appointments available in Tipperary and Waterford, they were booked up within seconds,” said Deputy Sherlock.
“However, she was informed there were literally hundreds of appointments available in Donegal for some reason. The woman was eventually able to get an appointment in Cork City, but not until Tuesday evening. The woman was angry and frustrated at not being able to get an appointment near her home. People are staying up until midnight refreshing their computers trying to get tests,” he added.
Deputy Sherlock went on to say that getting to a test centre in Cork City or West Cork was simply not feasible for anyone without their own transport or caring for someone in the home.
“We need to ensure testing rates remain high, and the simple way to achieve that is a nearer testing site in North Cork. I have written to the Minister for Health and the HSE once more to address this situation as COVID test appointments are booking out right across Cork and indeed the entire country,” he said.