Its been an odd few days. Yesterday I had to draw up letters for our staff to keep in their car in case they get stopped by Gardai on the way to work, new expierences every day.
Judging by our phonecalls it seems that everyone is coming to terms with the new screening criteria and the reality of our reduced movements. Thank you all for your understanding and remember the test is to help public health and doesn't change the advice to the individual patient.
We have had to reduce the amount of time we are available on the phone and this is due to reduced staff numbers due to self isolation while people have symtpoms. We will hopefully be back to full strength in the next week or so and the phone availability will go back up to normal.
Please keep yourselves safe out there and have a look at the HSE website for any queries about self isolation, restricted movements or cocooning.
Talk to you all again soon
As you have heard on the radio and TV the criteria for testing has changed. What about people who have been referred before today? Here is the latest information we have;
All patients who have been swabbed to date will have their samples processed and tested.
We are awaiting clarification on with regard to patients who have been given a test date but not yet been tested and will update further on receipt of same.
All patients who have not yet been swabbed and do not have an appointment for a test date will NOT now be tested. Such patients will be required to reengage with their GP and the GP will triage the patient again in accordance with the new case definition (please see earlier post today in relation to updated testing criteria)
This is a rapidly evolving situation and things will likely change again as we move into the next phase of this pandemic.
As this is an evolving global health crisis the information and testing criteria will continuously evolve.
As you may have heard on the news this morning the criteria for testing has changed again.
The updated testing criteria are;
A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
Or a patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset
Or a patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath; AND requiring hospitalization) AND in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation.
If a person meets this criteria they will be tested if they are in an at-risk group;
a) Symptomatic close contacts of a confirmed case
b) Symptomatic healthcare workers
c) Symptomatic at risk groups that include persons with diabetes, immunosuppressed, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease,cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease and smokers
d) Symptomatic household contacts of at-risk groups
e) Symptomatic staff or residents in a long-term care facility
f) Symptomatic prison staff and inmates where it may be difficult to implement self-isolation advice
g) Symptomatic pregnant women (not because of a documented increase risk of complications but to ensure to safe clinical pathway of care)
If you meet these criteria please contact your GP to be referred for testing for COVID 19
Hello again everyone. Ireland continues on into our Covid 19 journey and hopefully this week we be able to see that the social distancing measures we have all taken part in have helped to flatten the curve of new cases.
Unfortunately Covid 19 has already had a big impact on our practice. We are down 5 members of staff self isolating while awaiting testing. This has had a huge impact on our ability to answer phonecalls. Due to this we have had to take the decision to reduce the hours during which the phone will be answered.
We will now be taking calls from 0900-1200 and again from 1400-1600.
If you have an emergency please ring the practice emergency number which is on our answering machine.
Again thank you all for your understanding in this time
Into week 2 of this crisis and I would like to say thank you to our patients for their understanding of our delays at this time.
The current number of people nationwide waiting for testing is 40,000 to put this in context we have only done 10,000 tests in total so far. The number of sites available for testing is increasing but there is a significant wait to be tested.
Bear in mind that if you have been referred for testing you should assume you are positive for Covid19 and let us know if your symptoms deteriorate particularly if you become more short of breath. The test will not alter how we medically assess or manage your symtpoms.
Today we are gathering ourselves again and trying to get through as many phonecalls as possible.
We are unfortunately down from our usual 3 staff members managing the phones to just 1 so we ask again for people to use our email service to order prescriptions where possible and have patience with our phone lines. 1 person can only take 1 call at a time.
We will do our best to be here and support you through this time. This will likely involve virtual consultations predominantly over the coming months but this will eventually return to normal.
The Corona virus has had a heavy impact on all of us at this stage. On Wednesday of last week we took the unprecendented step of locking our sliding door and only bringing patients in when we were sure they did not have respiratory symptoms. This was done to protect our staff and to prevent patients spreading this illness among themselve.
However even this was not 100% successful as today we start work with fewer staff members available than planned. We have more than 1 person in self isolation awaiting testing at this time.
We ask that our patients help us through this time and understand there is likely to be delays getting through on the phone as we are now down to 1 person answering instead of our usual 3.
If you do not have any symtpoms please do not ring for general information. Please visit the HSE website.
If you need a repeat prescription please use our email address linked at the top of this page.
We will try our best to deal with as much as possible over the phones and thank you so much for bearing with us in this difficult time.
Dr. P. Kieran