Isolation rooms available at all HSE sites in event of coronavirus outbreak

Isolation rooms available at all HSE sites in event of coronavirus outbreak

The HSE says it has identified special isolation rooms at all of its sites, in preparation for any potential coronavirus outbreak.

Officials are stepping up efforts to prepare for the virus, by sending GP practices, out-of-hours surgeries and public health facilities personal protective equipment today.

Meanwhile, 15 people suspected of having the coronavirus in Ireland have tested negative.

The Department of Health said the 15 suspected cases had recently travelled from mainland China and had symptoms of the virus, which has now killed 636 people.

Joe Ryan, National Director of Services with the HSE, said hospitals are prepared for any outbreak too.

"We have isolation facilities in all of our hospitals," he said.

"Some hospitals have very high spec isolation facilities, some have what is essentially a room with a bed with oxygen and suction."

He added: "Yes, our hospitals are busy. Yes, they still have a lot of people still presenting with flu. If we had a coronavirus presentation we would prioritise that one because of the new nature of that particular virus."

The tests were all carried out at the National Virus Reference Laboratory in Dublin up to last Monday.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said: "So it's a swab, in effect, and the important thing is, as I say, is that we now have the capacity to do that test in this country.

"The National Virus Reference Laboratory which is based at UCD will have a result in about eight hours of the test beginning so we're in a position to return same day test results.

"If an individual is managed and treated in that way, within a relatively short period of time, we're in a position to determine whether or not that is the case."

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