People with positive antigen tests can ‘self-register’ from close contacts

Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly said people who have shown symptoms of Covid and a positive antigen test will be able to list their close contacts through a health, safety and environment online portal.

As part of efforts to relieve stress on the testing system, testing and Isolation guidelines were announced last night.

Among the changes announced, people ages 4 to 39 with symptoms are now being asked to immediately self-isolate and have regular antigen tests instead of immediately booking a PCR test.

People in this group are only required to book a PCR test after they have a positive antigen result.

As part of this approach, the Department of Health said it is working with HSE to provide home delivery antigen tests for people aged 4-39 from January 3.

The reasons why home antigen tests for this group are to prioritize PCR testing for those in the older age groups, health care workers and other vulnerable groups.

The new approach to asking people ages 4 to 39 not to book an immediate PCR has led to questions about the delay this would cause in the contact tracing process.

Speaking today, Donnelly said people will be able to start contact tracing once they have an antigen test result.

The Minister suggested that this process is running but the HSE portal does not appear to contain new information.

«Anyone can now self-register online on HSE and you can upload your nearby contacts,» Donnelly told RTÉ’s News at One.

For anyone with a positive antigen test, there is a portal on HSE where they can score this.

HSE has a specific page for reporting antigen testing and says new information will be available on Monday.

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The government announced changes to public health advice starting on January 3. We will update this information afterwards.” HSE says on its website.

Delivered

In response to inquiries from the magazine About additional antigen testing, HSE said people will be able to book their own antigen tests and have them delivered to their homes.

«They will be given a box of antigen tests and they will have to take three tests,» Health and Safety said in a statement.

They should take the first test as soon as possible, the second test 24 hours later and the third 24 hours after that. It is very important that anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 self-isolate, if antigen tests remain negative, should continue to self-isolate until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.

The statement adds: “Anyone with a positive antigen test should continue to self-isolate and book a confirmatory online PCR test with HSE. If PCR is positive, this will confirm their diagnosis and they will be reported in case statistics and included in contact tracing. It will also enable them to access any required sickness benefits and recovery certificates in the future.”

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Opposition parties have called for free antigen tests to be disseminated to a wider population.

There is a shortage of antigen tests in the community and prices are increasing rapidly. What we need now is to provide these drugs free of charge to all health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic. Duncan Smith TD of Labor said today: I have written to the CEO of HSE requesting that this be implemented.

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Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane TD also said antigen tests should be «free and accessible».

“We need to use all the tools at our disposal to suppress the spread of Covid-19, so beggars believe that the government continues to hesitate when it comes to the public circulation of antigen testing,” he said.

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