Over 30,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Ireland so far
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Over 30,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Ireland so far

SOME 30,000 people have been tested for Covid-19 in Ireland as the country tries to contain the spread of the virus.

It can take up to 10 days to receive test results, and health officials have urged those who are still waiting for theirs to self-isolate until they arrive.

Dr Cillian De Gascun, chair of the HSE's Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, confirmed this week that 30,213 individual screenings had been administered, but that constraints due to the high volume of tests had caused a delay in some results getting back quickly.

He also said that supply issues, affecting the entire world, have meant that they are prioritising hospitalised patients as a matter of course.

Despite this, the HSE are still trying to reach a target of as many as 15,000 tests per day.

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"Unfortunately there will be an awful lot of people in the community who will have been waiting maybe seven to 10 days for a result," Dr De Gascun added.

"This was obviously unanticipated and it is unfortunate but doesn't really change our plan of ramping up testing over the coming weeks to achieve between 10,000 and 15,000 tests per day."

One issue is that the vast majority of tests are coming back negative, using up valuable time and testing equipment for those who need it.

Last week, health officials decided to change the case definition for Covid-19 tests, being more specific about what exactly should entitle you to get checked.

Since then, the positive rate for tests has risen from 6% to 15%.

"That's one of the things we were trying to achieve, by changing the case definition, was to ensure we were testing the right people," Dr De Gascun said.

He went on to stress that testing is done for "a population benefit, not an individual benefit," and that people should follow health and isolation guidelines as much as they can and only seek out a test if it's necessary.

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