A Clare infectious diseases expert says ending mass covid-19 testing would be “premature” at this point.
It comes as the test and trace programme is now running at maximum capacity, with a record number of people presenting for covid-19 tests yesterday.
The head of the HSE’s test and trace programme says all available capacity is being utilised to deal with the huge volumes presenting for a Covid-19 test.
There were roughly 30,000 tests carried out across the community, hospitals and serial testing sites yesterday.
23,000 of those were in the community alone, which is the highest number since the pandemic began.
Niamh O’Beirne says schoolchildren are making up the majority of those presenting for a test and that the system is now at maximum capacity.
She says antigen testing for close contacts could be introduced to help deal with the surge in demand.
A Clare infectious disease expert believes mass antigen testing is a good idea, but is warning they’re not perfect and that people often don’t realise they need to carry out a second test to be certain they’re negative.
A new plan reportedly sets out steps to end mass testing for covid starting with children under the age of 13 and vaccinated adults, but it has yet to be adopted by NPHET and there’s no timeline for its delivery.
Professor James McInerney, who’s the Head of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham is warning that as more people, including those who are fully vaccinated, are likely to get infected over the next year, it’s important to keep monitoring the spread.
The Sixmilebridge native says it’s too early to pull back on mass testing now.