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Return of double testing will allow close contacts to end isolation early

Close contacts of coronavirus patients can now stop restricting their movements early if they get...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.43 10 Feb 2021


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Return of double testing will...

Return of double testing will allow close contacts to end isolation early

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.43 10 Feb 2021


Share this article


Close contacts of coronavirus patients can now stop restricting their movements early if they get two clear test results.

The HSE has today reintroduced double testing of close contacts.

From today, anyone identified as a close contact will be immediately referred for testing.

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They will then sit a second test ten days their last exposure to the COVID-19 patient.

They will be permitted to stop restricting their movements if the virus is not detected on the second test and they are not showing any symptoms of the virus.

Cars line up at the COVID-19 testing facility centre at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, 31-12-2020. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

The health service stopped testing asymptomatic close contacts on New Years Eve due to the huge pressure on the testing system at the time.

Testing resumed at the end of last month – with contacts asked to attend five days after their last exposure to the COVID-19 patient.

In his latest letter to the Health Minister, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that double testing should now resume.

He also called for healthcare workers designated as close contacts to be tested in the same way as the general public moving forward.

The CMO's recommendations on close contact testing to the Minister for Health. Image : Department of Health

Dr Holohan warned that Ireland, "continues to experience a very concerning epidemiological situation," noting that officials are worried that the decline in daily case numbers will soon begin to slow.

"Incidence is falling but remains high with some concern that case counts may be plateauing, although this is not yet clear and will continue to be closely monitored," he wrote.

He warned that the resumption of close contact testing could inflate case counts in the coming days.

The letter is dated February 4th and was published by the Department of Health today.


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