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Pop-up walk-in Covid-19 test centres open

People without symptoms or close contacts can get tested until Wednesday in several areas where the virus has been active, including Grangegorman, Blanchardstown, Tallaght, Irishtown and Tullamore, Co.Offaly.  

Covid-19 tests are available free to anyone over the age of 16 at a series of new drop-in centres that have been opened for the last few days – and that might be back in the coming weeks.

People who do not have any clear symptoms of coronavirus can get tested. This is an effort to identify and stop the wider spread of Covid-19 in communities.

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        Photo taken from Stephen Donnelly’s Twitter

“Increasing the number of people tested will help us better understand how and why the virus is spreading quicker in certain areas,” Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly explained on Twitter last week.

The HSE said that with the co-operation of the National Ambulance Service, it aims to carry out between 300 and 500 tests per day at each walk-in centre. 

“I’d recommend anyone to go – the service was very quick and efficient.”

-Hannah O’Neill

A total of 1,722 people were tested on the launch day of these centres last Thursday, March 25th, said Niamh O’Beirne, the HSE’s national lead for testing and tracing, on her Twitter account. She said it was about a 20-minute wait to get tested, with social distance guidelines implemented. 

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  Photo taken from Niamh O’Beirne’s Twitter

People between the ages of 25 of 44 made up 41% of those tested in the first few days. “The positivity rate overall is sitting at 3% from the testing sites”, O’Beirne told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

“Grangegorman has a slightly lower positivity rate with only 2% detected,” she added.  

“I’d recommend anyone to go – the service was very quick and efficient and took no longer than 10 minutes,” said Hannah O’Neill from Dublin 15, who recently attended the Blanchardstown site.

“Overall it was very well organised and I got my test results the very next day,” she added.

The walk-in test centres are due to finish on Wednesday, March 31t. However, the HSE said it would evaluate the success of the centres and open again anywhere that has a spike in Covid-19 cases.  

“We go where the greatest need is and that is where the greatest risk of disease is at the moment,” HSE public health specialist Dr Miriam Owens said.

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