Close contacts of Covid-19 patients not accepting tests

ireland
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Press Association
Public health chiefs have voiced concern that a large number of people are failing to appear for Covid-19 tests after being in close contact with a confirmed case.

Chief executive officer of the HSE, Paul Reid warned the number of close contacts have increased by more than 55% in the last week, from just over two to 5.4 for each case.

Speaking at a HSE briefing, Mr Reid said around 20-25% of people are not showing up for their day zero test, however this rises significantly to 50% of people missing the day seven test.

He warned: “It’s really important to stress here that a person may identify as a negative test on day zero, but a quite real potential to test positive on the day seven.

The likelihood of you testing positive having been in contact with a positive case is much higher.

“We strongly advise everybody to come forward, it’s really important you play a part for yourself, for your family, for the wider public, for society, and stopping the spread and second surge.”

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He said that in most cases people say they will attend an appointment when contacted by the contact tracing team, however they fail to appear for the scheduled test.

Mr Reid added: “In some cases people are saying they feel fine, they feel that they don’t have symptoms and don’t have to go. The calls with those people are taking much longer than they did in the past, a call is taking double, sometimes triple the amount of time.

Dr Colm Henry, the HSE’s chief clinical officer, said people are not the best judge themselves on whether they need a test.

He said: “If you are a close contact, you could be positive even if you have no symptoms.

“If you have no symptoms and are positive but don’t get tested, you are at risk of passing that virus on to other people, who are in turn at risk of passing it on if they are asymptotic – and that is called a cluster, which becomes an outbreak which eventually becomes uncontrolled community transmission."

He continued by saying there have been “very significant and worrying” trends over the last week to 10 days.

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