The HSE is promising a three-day turnaround for coronavirus tests from next week.
HSE chief Paul Reid said it has the capacity carry out 15,000 tests a day as the country enters the first phase of the exit from lockdown.
People who get a negative result will be told in less than or equal to two days, he said.
For those who test positive it will take longer with the aim to begin tracing their contacts, who might have been exposed to the virus, the following day.
The testing has been beset by delays but it is crucial to have fast system in place as lockdown eases in order to pick up any increase in infection.
Mr Reid said that only 3pc of cases are positive so out of 12,000 cases 450 people would have the virus.
Most of those are straightforward when tracing their contacts but there are complex cases such as people without English or patients in intensive care which take longer to track down.
The system is currently hampered by blockages including reliance on manual process and the problem of some computers not talking each other.
He said there is work underway to increase automation to speed up the steps in the process.
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