New rules have been introduced for testing for COVID-19, which mean that only patients who have two major symptoms will qualify for a test.
The move will result in thousands of people who are waiting to be tested, but don’t have an appointment yet, being taken off the list.
The HSE says 8,000 people in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary are currently awaiting tests for the virus, but its hoped that with the new guidelines and the opening of new centres this week, the backlog can be cleared within 10 days.
There’s two swabbing stations at the Ennis Driving Centre, which are operational from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, but testing is by appointment only, and only patients referred by their GP will be seen.
Under the new guidelines, people must have a fever and either a cough or shortness of breath and also need to be either contacts of a confirmed case, healthcare staff or in a vulnerable group.
Chief medical officer Tony Holohan says not everyone with cold like symptoms will be recommended for testing.
It means that some people who are waiting to be tested, but don’t have an appointment yet, won’t be tested.
They’re being told to remain in self-isolation, and if they still want to go ahead and get a test, they’ll need to contact their GP again.
Assistant Professor of General Practice at Trinity College Dr Brendan O’Shea says the measures will prioritise those at risk.