Should COVID-19 testing be performed at home?

27 March 2020
By Bryan Smyth

Callout service needed for vulnerable and elderly people struggling to find transport to coronavirus test centres, says Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan

Vulnerable and elderly people who cannot get to coronavirus test centres should have the test brought to them by paramedics, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan said on Friday.

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in the country, more and more elderly and vulnerable people who live a good distance from testing centres are struggling to reach them. Deputy O’Sullivan will be writing to the health minister to explore what options might be available.

“We don’t want anyone to be left behind, and a single case of this illness puts everyone at risk,” deputy O’Sullivan said.

“Health care staff – at our hospitals and test centres – have performed heroically during this crisis. They’re on the front line and we should all be exceptionally grateful to them.

“But I am asking the HSE to make a call-out or mobile test provision for those who are unable to get themselves to test site.”

The HSE is not currently set up for mobile testing.

New rules introduced for Covid-19 testing this week mean patients will need to meet particular criteria – a fever and either a cough or shortness of breath, and fall into a priority group – to qualify.

“Imagine a scenario where an 85-year-old having a fever and shortness of breath is required to drive themselves to a test site,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.

“A provision being made for people who fit a particular mobility criteria to get access to mobile tests should be seriously considered.”

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