MEDICAL staff in full protective suits were testing people for coronavirus today at a drive-thru test centre on the northside of the city.
The centre has opened at the St Mary's health campus to screen people in a safe environment. It has been opened to ensure people suspected of having the virus do not go to hospitals or GP surgeries and risk infecting others.
An idle unit has been converted into a test centre on the campus, but away from other health facilities.
Only people who have been referred to the service can attend for screening — no self-referrals are permitted.
Staff can swab people through car windows and the results will then be communicated to the patient when processed.
The new centre comes just days after the UK implemented a similar scheme.
Some countries in Asia and the Middle East have introduced drive-thru screening with some success.
It is hoped that the scheme will prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Cork, as over 70 cases have been confirmed across Ireland.
The introduction of the drive-through test centres comes amid reports of challenges in accessing personal protective equipment (PPE) for GPs.
An email sent from leadership of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) to GPs across Ireland informed them that a preliminary delivery of PPE will commence today (Friday) and should be completed by Wednesday.
However, the email also states “supplies are challenging at the moment” but the ICGP hopes the latest PPE equipment delivery will support GPs sufficiently.
GPs have also expressed concern about their capacity and ability to order tests, according to the email.