IN excess of 300 people opted to undergo a free Covid-19 test over the weekend at the “walk-in” test centre at Waterford Institute of Technology’s College Street Campus, with 50 of those lining-up within the first two hours of opening.
A queue began to form in advance of the HSE run test centre’s opening on Saturday at 11am, and throughout the day the centre remained busy with 150 people being tested.
Given that anyone resident within 15 kilometres of Waterford City could stop in for a test, Sunday saw a notable increase with 173 swabs being taken.
The HSE’s South East Public Health Department and South East Community Healthcare, working with the National Ambulance Service had aimed to carry out 200-300 Covid-19 tests per day, but the first two days fell short of that target. At this stage it is not known if any positive cases have been identified from the testing as results are still awaited.
The service was due to conclude on Wednesday, but it is expected that it will be extended a further two days.
In order to meet the criteria for the walk-in service a person has to be aged 16 years and over, must not be displaying symptoms of Covid-19 and have not tested positive for Covid-19 in the last six months.
To obtain a test individuals check in at the main desk and provide ID in the form of a valid passport, driving licence, Public Services card, National Age Card or an identification form with a photograph signed by a member of An Garda Síochána. A Free Travel Pass, and a Student ID may also be used. A mobile phone number must also be given to obtain results.
The public are being advised that they should not attend the walk-in clinic if they are showing symptoms of Covid-19. The HSE are continuing to advise people with these symptoms to self-isolate and phone their GP straight away, who will advise if they need a free Covid-19 test at the main test centre in Kilcohan.
Dr Carmel Mullaney, Director of Public Health with the HSE’s South East Public Health Department, said: “This is an additional tool in the fight against Covid-19. It is an opportunity to find cases which may not otherwise come to light, to prevent further spread and to better understand emerging trends in the incidence of Covid-19. The fact that the centre is easily accessible will enable people to avail of testing who might not otherwise do so. Though the daily numbers are lower in Waterford in recent weeks, there are still cases appearing and we would encourage anyone who is concerned to take advantage of this opportunity to be tested.”