Largest Covid-19 test centre opens in Cork; Páirc Uí Chaoimh to conduct 1,000 tests per day

Largest Covid-19 test centre opens in Cork; Páirc Uí Chaoimh to conduct 1,000 tests per day
People in cars being checked in for coronavirus covid-19 testing at Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

THE HSE has opened a Covid-19 testing centre at Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium which will see 1,000 tests carried out each day.

The testing centre, which opened today, is now the country’s largest.

Cork GAA offered the use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to the HSE for “whatever they wanted to use it for” last week.

President of Cork County Board, Tracey Kennedy, said that the HSE responded to the offer on Friday last and said that it would be using the stadium as a testing centre.

“We were delighted to be able to do something to support the absolute immense work that is being done by the frontline workers so we’re delighted that we had the capacity to offer the stadium to them for whatever they need to use it for,” she said.

Ms Kennedy also confirmed that all upcoming matches at Páirc Uí Chaoimh have been postponed.

“Until we have greater certainty about when people can get out and about and back together again we can’t even consider what we might do about rescheduling games. It’s too early to tell,” she said.

She said that the use of the stadium by the HSE has not had any impact on the Cork County Board.

“All of our activities are shut down at the moment so it has no impact. Our staff are mainly working remotely and there are no games going ahead on at the moment,” she said.

Meanwhile, local Fine Gael councillor, Des Cahill, said that the operating of the centre is “well thought out”.

People in cars being checked in for coronavirus covid-19 testing at Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
People in cars being checked in for coronavirus covid-19 testing at Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“The stewards are there with masks on directing cars and there’s quite a wide sweeping car area in the circumference of the stadium which is where they’re being stationed. Peoples’ names are being taken and you can see them waiting in their cars until they are called in when their turn comes up.

“It’s something like every 15 minutes so it’s not like they’re asking 100 people to come at nine in the morning, it seems to be very well separated and is well thought out,” he said.

He said that it is a “strange” time that is difficult to describe because “none of us have ever experienced it”.

“It’s so strange and it’s worrying for everyone and it’s very hard to describe it really because none of us have ever experienced it so we don’t really know how to compute almost,” he said.

There are currently two other testing centres in Cork city. Páirc Uí Chaoimh is the 35th such testing site in the country.

Meanwhile, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been informed that a patient diagnosed with Covid-19 in the east of the country has died.

The death of the male patient, who had an underlying health condition, is the fourth Covid-19 related death in Ireland.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre was also informed of 121 new confirmed cases of Covid-19.

There are now 906 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

The HSE is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Speaking following the death of the Covid-10 patient, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said: “I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of the patient who died today.

“Cases confirmed today were most likely exposed to Covid-19 prior to the introduction of the public health measures implemented on Friday, 13 March.

“It is vital that everyone complies with the public health advice on hand and cough hygiene, working from home where possible and practising social distancing of 2 metres.

“Public health doctors carrying out contact tracing are advising that confirmed cases are now reporting fewer contacts, which is an encouraging sign that people are following the public health guidance.

“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone adhering to public health advice. You are actively helping flatten the curve and limit the spread of Covid-19.

“Anyone waiting to be tested should act as though their test is positive and should self-isolate now, while they await testing and results,” he said.

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