GPs concerned about number of people ringing for Covid-19 test thinking they may be close contact

GPs concerned about number of people ringing for Covid-19 test thinking they may be close contact

File picture.

GPs are concerned about the number of people calling for a Covid-19 test when they think they may be a close contact.

Doctors say they want to keep phone lines free for people who are genuinely unwell.

If you are a close contact, you will be phoned by someone from a contact tracing team and they will organise your test.

According to the HSE, a close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of someone who has coronavirus, indoor or outdoor.
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as someone who has coronavirus.
  • sitting within 2 seats of someone who has coronavirus on public transport or an airplane.

Dr Nuala O'Connor, Covid-19 lead with the Irish College of General Practitioners, says even the app can tell you if you require a test.

She said public health officials will identify someone as a close contact.

“It’s only if you get a contact from public health or if you get a ping on your Covid Tracker app to say that you have been identified as a close contact and a red card comes up on you Covid Tracker app, then you are a genuine close contact,” said Dr O’Connor.

If you are a close contact, you need to get tested for the virus and restrict your movements for 14 days, even if your test comes back negative.

If you are contacted by a public health official of a member of a contact tracing team, they will arrange a test for you.

Of the 274 cases of the virus reported on Saturday, 52% are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

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