Cork woman with compromised immune system speaks of frustration at two-week wait for Covid-19 test result

Cork woman with compromised immune system speaks of frustration at two-week wait for Covid-19 test result
Coronavirus testing at Pairc Ui Caoimh, CorkPic Michael Mac sweeney/Provision

A CORK woman who is cocooning with a compromised immune system is still waiting for a result two weeks after being tested for Covid-19.

Michelle from Douglas was tested in the Páirc Uí Chaoimh testing centre on March 26. She still hasn’t received the result of that test.

As someone who is in the extremely vulnerable category, Michelle is on autoimmune suppressants constantly, and every six months gets a type of transfusion which reduces her immune system further.

Having come down with a very bad cough and chest pains, Michelle was referred by her GP for Covid-19 testing, and was called very quickly. However, she has heard nothing since.

“No contact, no text message to say whether I was negative, no phone calls, nothing,” she said.

“The testing down there was brilliant, I was in and out in five minutes, but the least they could do is give me a result,” she added.

“Páirc Uí Chaoimh had only opened that week as a test centre, so I don’t understand why there was such a delay then. Where are all those tests gone? If it comes back to me now as negative, was it out of date by the time it got tested? I don’t know if there will be a valid result from it or not,” she added.

Cork City, Cork, Ireland. 22nd March, 2020. A drive-thru testing for Coronavirus Covid 19 area has been set up at the GAA's Pairc Ui Chaoimh grounds on th Marina in Cork, Ireland. - Picture; David Creedon / Anzenberger
Cork City, Cork, Ireland. 22nd March, 2020. A drive-thru testing for Coronavirus Covid 19 area has been set up at the GAA's Pairc Ui Chaoimh grounds on th Marina in Cork, Ireland. - Picture; David Creedon / Anzenberger

Michelle has raised concerns that the official numbers of people infected with the virus being published may not be accurate.

She also raised concerns that others who haven’t received test results and who aren’t immuno-compromised may go outside after their period of self-isolation with the potential to infect others with the virus.

Michelle is one of a number of people who have contacted The Echo raising concerns about the length of time their results were taking.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said it’s clear there are serious issues surrounding Covid-19 testing.

"We need clear answers from the HSE and the Minister for Health on a number of key figures - what is the number of people waiting to be tested, and what is the number of people waiting to have test results processed?

"These statistics need to be disclosed in the public interest. We also need to know how long people tested today will be waiting for a result,” he said.

"We recognise that sourcing these tests is difficult, and that this is an unprecedented and difficult situation. I appreciate that people are working very hard, and that everyone has the same objective, to stop the spread of this illness.

“However, there is a shortcoming here, it is not what was committed to. It is important to highlight that, because we need to do better, we need to fix this. People have to have confidence that testing is working well,” Deputy Ó Laoghaire added.

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