Pictured at the new Covid vaccination centre in Tullamore are Head of Primary Care HSE Joe Ruane, Barry Cowen TD, Councillor Sean O'Brien, and others at a walk through of the facilities
IT has been a week of great hope with the launch of the vaccination centre in Tullamore and the sense that we are finally moving on and out of what has been months of lock downs, job losses, fear and worry.
But there have also been lows this week as we understand Covid figures are once again causing concern in Offaly and another walk-in test centre is to open today Wednesday, April 28, at Clonminch.
Starting with the positive, last Friday local TDs, councillors and members of the press were brought on a tour of a newly established vaccination centre at the Tullamore Court hotel.
The hotel has been transformed into an impressive state of the art medical centre which when fully operational will vaccinate 1,200 people a day.
Opening next week, it will run 12 hours each day with one scheduled appointment taking place every five minutes. Initially between 400 to 500 people will be catered for every day, however, as more vaccinators are trained and more vaccines become available that figure will increase.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is the one currently being offered. Those declining to have this vaccine can re-register for a different brand.
Centre Manager, Bernie Mann and Clinical Lead, Paula Trainor took Barry Cowen TD and other invited guests along the route people will take when they arrive for their vaccine.
Each step will be supervised and great care will be taken to keep people safe and comfortable from the moment they arrive until they leave.
However, the vaccination centre is not the only place to open and a Covid-19 walk-in test centre opens this morning at Clonminch near the Portlaoise roundabout on the by-pass. No appointment is needed. The facility will open from 9.30 am to 4.30pm daily, for one week initially.
The last walk-in test centre was at the Aura Leisure Centre on Church Road, in Tullamore. 1,185 people were tested over the 6 days it was there, two per cent tested positive,
The HSE state: ''These centres support both the HSE’s enhanced Covid-19 testing for local communities and allow further identification and understanding of any variants of concern within our communities.''
Commenting Niamh O Beirne National Lead Test said, “We are seeing increasing numbers of people present to the HSE’s walk-in Covid19 testing centres. We continue to work closely with the Public Health teams across the country, the National Ambulance Service and Community Health teams to ensure that we establish these testing centres as quickly as possible once the need for them has been identified.''
It's understood the area of concern in Offaly is Edenderry. As a commuter town, it is also heavily influenced by a large outbreak in Co Kildare.
Rates in Edenderry are expected to remain high relative to other local electoral areas and other counties in the near future
You can use the COVID-19 walk-in test centre at Clonminch, if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19 and you:
are aged 16 years and over
live in the same area as the walk-in test centre
have not tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 6 months
Tests are limited to one test per person. If you think you need a repeat test, talk to your GP.
You need to bring photo ID and provide a mobile phone number.