Coronavirus: 13,000 tests carried out on Friday, in one-day high
Completion from test referral to contact tracing now taking 2.1 days – HSE
Paul Reid of the HSE said 98% of Covid-19 tests have been negative. Photograph: NEXU Science Communication/via Reuters
There were 13,000 Covid-19 tests carried out in the State on Friday, the highest daily number recorded to date.
Paul Reid, chief executive of the HSE, said the mean “end to end” completion time from referral to contact tracing is now 2.1 days. Mr Reid said on Saturday that 98 per cent of tests are negative and that the “vast majority would have been returned in much less than two days”.
A further 79 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Friday, with no new deaths reported. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 27,755, with the death toll at 1,776.
In Northern Ireland, another 71 people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 6,647, the North’s department of health said on Saturday afternoon.
With a week to the reopening of schools, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) has requested a meeting with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) to outline their concerns and seek a review of advice provided to the Department of Education.
Ann Piggott, president of the ASTI, said the union is receiving a “high number of communications” from teachers expressing a variety of concerns, including the safety of students and teachers in the high-risk category who have underlying illnesses.
“School communities have been working hard to get schools ready for re-opening. Understandably there is much trepidation amongst teachers as they begin what will no doubt prove to be an extremely challenging school year,” she said.
“The ASTI is seeking this meeting to have the concerns of teachers addressed, most especially teachers suffering from serious underlying illnesses. Given the evolving situation and the recent reappraisal of some of the advice provided by NPHET and HPSC, teachers have been expressing concerns about the health implications of a return to the classroom.”
The HSE, under which the HPSC is run, has been asked for comment on the request.
Nursing and midwifery
Separately, the Department of Health has announced the expert review body for the independent review of nursing and midwifery has commenced its programme of work.
The review group, chaired by Dr Moling Ryan have already met on two occasions and is due to put out a call for submissions from stakeholders from Monday.
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said the establishment of the group was hard won by union’s members following the resolution of the 2019 nurses strike “and it was a central plank of the settlement concluding the industrial action”.
She said: “The business of this group is a matter for the nursing and midwifery professions and will be watched closely by nursing managers, who consider this process unfinished business, the outcome of which will determine the next steps for the nursing unions.
“The group’s work will be extremely important in recognising nurses and midwives’ contributions to quality care in the evolving health service.
“We have made clear that it is vital the expert group hears directly from nurses, midwives, nurse and midwife managers of all grades, specialists, PHNs and other grades, and we will advocate strongly for the professions in all submissions and representations to the group.
“This is a very important time for the health service and the voices of nurses and midwives must be listened to if we are to successfully meet the healthcare challenges ahead.”