Walk-in test centres helping to drive down Covid case numbers, say health experts

Walk-in test centres helping to drive down Covid case numbers, say health experts

Members of the National Ambulance Service working at a walk-in test centre on the grounds of Grangegorman Primary Care Centre in Dublin. Picture: Brian Lawless

Health experts say Ireland’s walk-in test centres are helping to drive down Covid case numbers.

It comes after the country reported just 303 new virus cases yesterday, the lowest daily number this year.

Since March, walk-in test centres have been popping up in areas across Ireland with high Covid case numbers.

The centres are open for those who are asymptomatic, with the hope being they will help stop people who have no Covid symptoms from unknowingly spreading the virus.

Dr Elizabeth Ryan, a lecturer in immunology at the University of Limerick, says this strategy appears to be working.

"The way it spreads is not by people who are symptomatic because you go and get tested and you isolate - hopefully," said Dr Ryan.

"It's the fact that so many people can have the virus and not realise."

While positive about the walk in centres, Professor Gerry Killeen, a scientist at University College Cork, says criteria should be changed so those with mild symptoms can also get tested.

"Anything that reduces the barriers or makes it easier for people to go and get tested always improves the capture rate of cases," said Prof Killeen.

"From the number of cases that we are picking up from these walk-in centres, I'm sure people are applying their common sense and bending the rules a little bit so I would just remove that barrier."

The HSE said that since the end of March, the walk-in centres have already detected 600 Covid cases that wouldn’t have been found otherwise.

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