‘Five days is too long’ – Wicklow TD calls for faster testing of nursing home staff and residents
Wicklow TD and Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly has said testing in local nursing homes for Covid-19 needs to be accelerated.
And he called for regular testing of staff and residents in the county’s nursing and care homes.
He said: “At the moment testing in our nursing homes is taking at best five days to turnaround but in our hospitals it can be done in just 24 hours.
“The HSE say they are aiming for a new target of three days but I think we need to be far more ambitious and try and replicate what happens in the acute settings by having all tests done in a day.
“This can be done if the trained clinicians and staff in the nursing homes are allowed to carry out the tests.
“This awful pandemic has borne down heaviest on older people and in particular those in nursing homes and residential facilities. The latest national figures indicate that some 740 nursing home residents have passed away after contracting the Coronavirus – that’s more than half all confirmed deaths so far”, said Deputy Donnelly.
“Testing has been ramped up in nursing homes in recent weeks. I understand that more than 90% of them have now had their residents and staff tested.
“However, it is an exercise that should be repeated on a consistent basis.
“It is vital we see the option of in-house testing explored – whereby nurses working in the nursing and care homes are enabled to carry out the tests themselves.
“Regular testing in Wicklow’s nursing homes will provide some degree of reassurance for residents, their carers and their families. They were badly let down at the outset of the pandemic and there must be no repeat in the event of a second wave of the virus.”