UCC, CIT willing to open their facilities to HSE in virus fight

UCC, CIT willing to open their facilities to HSE in virus fight
Picture: Denis Scannell

BOTH University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology want to work with the HSE in the face of the global health crisis.

CIT told The Echo it has provided the HSE with details of its premises and is standing by with possible staff allocations, if necessary, while UCC said it is ready to assist with any needs identified by the health service.

The comments come after a Cork GP called for idle labs on campuses, or in business premises, to be used for Covid-19 testing, amid delays.

Pop-up test centres have been established across Cork and Ireland, and an online health-link referral tool has been set up to facilitate GP referrals.

With the number of cases in Ireland increasing every day, Dr Nick Flynn, of MyCorkGP.ie and Union Quay, highlighted the importance of increased, rapid testing. “The most important thing we can do, at the moment, is to diagnose patients as soon as possible and isolate them,” he said.

“Then, we can trace their contacts, who also need to be isolated.

“On the ground, we are seeing delays of up to five days in patients getting appointments for testing,” he added.

“These patients should all be in self-isolation, but these delays, although understandable, mean we are losing precious opportunities to isolate the contacts.

“If there are labs around the country, in any campus or business, which could adapt to provide Covid-19 testing, then this should be considered,” said Dr Flynn.

A spokesperson for CIT told The Echo: “CIT is engaging with a variety of HSE services and is committed to supporting these services in any way possible.

“We have provided the HSE with details of our estates, so far mostly in terms of larger areas, rather than specific laboratory facilities.

“We understand that protocols are in development to allow the wider public service to support the HSE, through possible staff allocations, and, with the support of our staff, we will co-operate fully with these protocols,” she added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for UCC said: “UCC is working closely with the HSE, across a number of areas, to support the health system in this global health crisis.

“As needs are identified by the HSE, UCC stands ready to assist.”

Dr Flynn called on the Government to introduce more significant social restrictions.

“Italy, Spain, and Belgium are all in lockdown,” he said.

“China stopped the curve by lockdown and introduced draconian measures to keep people apart.

“We need to move to lockdown as soon as possible, and this lockdown needs to be enforced to be effective.”

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