New walk-in Covid-19 testing centre to open in Offaly
A new walk-in Covid-19 testing centre is to open in Offaly on Thursday, March 25.
Liz Canavan from the Department of the Taoiseach announced the new centre this morning along with four others in Dubln.
The new centre in Offaly will be located at Spollens Car Park in Tullamore Co Offaly. People will not need to book beforehand but the testing centre will only be open to people living with 5km of it.
This comes as Offaly grapples with the highest rate of Covid-19 infection in the country. 31 new cases were confirmed in the county on Tuesday with cases confirmed in a range of centres, including a creche and four schools in Tullamore. Offaly's 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 is 443.8, well above the national average of 158.3.
Speaking this morning, Liz Canavan said: "As part of the HSE’s enhanced COVID-19 testing for local communities, five new ‘walk-in, no appointment necessary’ temporary testing centres are being established to actively look for cases of COVID-19. These will be in areas where the number of positive cases are particularly high.
"Increasing the number of people we test will help us better understand how and why the virus is spreading quicker in certain areas. Around 1 in 5 people have COVID-19 without having any symptoms. Testing people with no symptoms will help us find positive cases earlier and allow these people take the necessary action to protect others. This will help us break chains of transmission."
On the vaccine response to the pandemic, Ms Canavan said: "The vaccination programme is rolling out, and we will continue to get vaccines to people as quickly as possible. We must all hold firm for a little longer – to give the vaccination programme a chance to reach more people in order for us to see the real benefits it can offer in our fight against this disease.
"I know this seems like the most frustrating time but in many ways it is also the riskiest moment - when we are rolling out vaccines but not quite out of danger, when we have been in Level 5 for a long time and just want to be out of it, and especially want to start visiting our friends and families again."