The number of Covid-19 testing centres has increased to 26 as of Wednesday and will continue to grow in the days ahead, the HSE has confirmed.
Seven centres opened across the country on Wednesday, bringing the total number of Covid-19 test centres currently in operation to 26, with more expected to open in the days ahead, including at the Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA stadium and LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Croke Park opened as a drive-thru testing facility for the Covid-19 virus on St Patrick's Day after a request by the HSE, with work currently underway at Nowlan Park to establish another test centre in Kilkenny.
A spokesperson for the HSE said: "The majority of centres are offering testing in a building/clinic location, while a number are offering a drive-through testing service.
"It is planned that there will be an expansion in the number of testing locations in the coming days."
The health service stressed that patients will be tested at these community testing centres by appointment only.
Once referred for testing by a GP, patients will receive confirmation of their appointment by text, which will specify the testing location and the time of the appointment.
The spokesperson said:
The public are advised not to present at these clinics without an appointment as they will not be seen.
Patients are facing waiting times for testing but the HSE said it is increasing capacity to meet demand and reduce waiting times.
A spokesperson for the HSE said: "We are aware that patients who were referred for a test earlier this week may still be waiting for a call back with a test date and location.
"This is a result of the large number of tests being ordered since the case definition changed last Friday.
"We regret that people are waiting and we are asking people to bear with us as we continue to roll out community testing hubs."
The HSE also advised patients to contact their GP for medical advice if their condition worsens while they await a Covid-19 test. Patients who have been tested and are awaiting results should also continue to self-isolate.
"Waiting for a test doesn’t change how you manage your symptoms or interactions with other people.
If you are waiting on a test to see if you have Covid-19 or you have been tested and are waiting for the results you need to stay home and self-isolate to prevent you spreading any potential infection to others.
"If the virus for Covid-19 is not detected you should continue to self -isolate until 48 hours after you last had symptoms. This is because while the virus for Covid-19 was not detected you have symptoms of an infectious respiratory illness which you do not want to pass on to others.
"If the virus for Covid 19 is detected you must continue to self-isolate until you are 14 days without symptoms and have had no temperature for the last 5 days of the 14 days," a spokesperson for the HSE said.
Further information and guidance in relation to Covid-19 is available on the HSE website.