Covid: Serial testing in nursing homes to be phased out

Covid: Serial Testing In Nursing Homes To Be Phased Out
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Serial testing for Covid-19 will be phased out in nursing homes as the protection from vaccinations has "virtually eliminated" deaths related to the virus according to chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.

Nursing homes were informed of the decision in a letter on Friday from HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry, as reported in The Irish Times.

Acute mental health centres are not included in the decision, while some long-term residential facilities will qualify if they meet certain criteria.

Sector representatives have said the "time is right" to move away from serial testing, with Tadhg Daly, chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland calling the decision a "prudent move".

The change would apply to centres where 80 per cent of residents and staff are fully vaccinated, where no cases have been detected in the last round of testing, and where there has been no open outbreak in the facility in the past 28 days, the HSE letter explained.


Advice would also be sought from local public health teams prior to the phasing out of serial testing in a facility.

At a press briefing on Friday afternoon, Dr Holohan said the incidence of the virus in the State is now broadly static and the number of people requiring hospitalisation due to the virus continues to fall.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) confirmed 434 new cases on Friday, and four additional deaths.

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