Simon Harris tests negative for Covid-19 after waiting three days for result

Health Minister contacted GP and self-isolated after displaying symptoms

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD, visiting the National Council for the Blind of Ireland at its Iona Resource Centre, in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD, visiting the National Council for the Blind of Ireland at its Iona Resource Centre, in Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris had to wait three days for a coronavirus test result last week.

The Minister remained in self-isolation for the period while waiting for the test result, which was negative.

Mr Harris was tested last Thursday after being referred by his GP, whom he had contacted after displaying symptoms. In accordance with official advice, he isolated himself from other family members at home and stayed indoors. He also dialled in remotely to last Friday’s Cabinet meeting.

He was given the all-clear on Sunday and returned to normal working this week, appearing in public on Wednesday at an event at the National Council for the Blind in Dublin.

According to the Health Service Executive, it is currently taking an average of 1.3 day for a person to be referred for a swab, and another 1.4 days for the result to come back. However, the time from swab to lab result is much longer in the community (46.3 hours) and in hospitals (16.3 hours).

A further three deaths of people diagnosed with Covid-19, and 47 new cases, were reported on Wednesday. This brings to 1,659 the total number of deaths in the Republic, and to 25,111 the number of cases.

Up to 40 per cent of cases are still occurring through community transmission, meaning the cause of infection is unknown.