HSE has confirmed that PCR testing will continue this weekend even though vaccination centers are closed until December 27.
There has been incredible demand for a more accurate form of testing for Covid-19 as Omicron takes root in Ireland.
Many people have expressed frustration online in recent days due to the lack of available appointments in counties nationwide.
However, people are reassured that appointments can become available as days go by – even if they are booked for the time being.
A number of slots are kept for GP referrals, and therefore, if not used, are shown to the public, so if you need a PCR, keep an eye on the online HSE portal throughout the day.
There will also be appointments available on Christmas Day, Damien McCalleon, head of vaccination at Health, Safety and Environment.
He said testing capacity has been increased to 250,000 for PCR tests and 100,000 for antigen tests, but centers have been under pressure for the past 48 hours.
« We will continue to operate throughout Christmas and Stephen’s Day, albeit with slightly reduced service, » he told RTE’s Morning Ireland newspaper on Friday.
« I appreciate that it’s difficult for people to come to Christmas, and the uncertainty in terms of waiting for testing on certain days in different parts of the country. »
It is understood that today, Christmas Day, 25 test centers will be open with reduced hours, while 36 test centers will open on St Stephen’s Day, all by appointment only.
HSE told the Irish Mirror: « Probation periods that are kept for GPs or referrals of nearby contacts may also be issued throughout the day, so we advise people to check their test dates regularly.
“If anyone gets a positive result on an antigen test, they should self-isolate (stay in your room) and take a PCR test. If there are no test appointments available, they should check back later. Appointments may become available later in the day.”
« New advice for close contacts is now also in place since Wednesday, December 22 where all close contacts, who are asymptomatic, will be able to request antigen tests. »
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