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Covid tests refused as people fear quarantine restrictions


Public appeal: Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Public appeal: Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Public appeal: Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

More than 1,300 people have refused a Covid-19 test despite being at risk of the deadly disease after being in close contact with an infected person.

The startling figure showing 1,314 have snubbed the offer of a test was revealed by the HSE to the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response.

Dr Lorraine Doherty, HSE national clinical director for health protection, said they are concerned about people not turning up for tests.

She said: "It shows that the public are becoming disengaged with the idea of having a Covid-19 test if they are symptomatic or if they are a contact, because they understand the implications of having a test and that they would need to restrict their movements.

"For people in workplaces, they might be reluctant to be tested.

"However our public health messaging is very clear, you should have a test if you are symptomatic or in contact with someone who is symptomatic."

Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd said: "The gardaí may need to call to people's doors if they refuse to come for a Covid-19 test."

It comes as 36 more people were diagnosed with the virus yesterday, confirming an ongoing high level of new infections.

However, there were no deaths from the virus - the sixth day in the past 10 days when no fatality was reported.

The number of patients in intensive care remains low, at seven.

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Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "I am asking everyone to stay the course on the public health measures needed to suppress Covid-19, such as covering coughs, hand washing, use of face coverings and two-metre social distancing, which are essential for continuing the momentum towards the reopening of our schools and resumption of our healthcare services."

The HSE also indicated that it will reduce the two-metre rule in some settings to facilitate health services.

Meanwhile, a young nurse who contracted Covid-19 said hospital staff were "catapulted" into the pandemic.

Siobhan Murphy told the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response that the physiological impact of the virus has been "detrimental" to herself and her colleagues.

The 27-year-old, who has no previous underlying health conditions, has not returned to work for almost 14 weeks because of the severe side effects.

Ms Murphy was in hospital for a week after her symptoms escalated.

She told the committee that she "unjustifiably" contracted Covid-19 when she worked on a coronavirus ward because of staff shortages and staff being "completely overwhelmed".

"My experience was over-exposure and burnout due to the challenge that we already faced pre-Covid with under-staffing and being overwhelmed with the ever-expanding role of being a staff nurse," she said.

"We were catapulted into this pandemic but we faced it with strength as a team.

"The exposure of Covid-19 as a nurse was profound and there has been psychological side-effects and symptoms that I am still experiencing today.

"I am still off work, as are three of my colleagues while four colleagues required hospital treatment due to contracting Covid-19."

She said 13 out of 20 colleagues contracted Covid-19. Having a phone number or an app for psychological trauma or post traumatic stress is not sufficient, she added.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

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