The HSE have confirmed that the COVID test centre, which is currently located in Muirhevnamor, will shortly be moving to Ardee and will be amalgamating with Meath to service both counties. The test centre in Dundalk currently services the whole of County Louth and one of the reasons for the move to Ardee is to make it easier for people from south of the county to travel to get tested. However the new plan will be to amalgamate all testing for Louth and Meath to Ardee next month. According to Sinn Fein’s Ruairí O’Murchú two test centres are needed given Louth has two large urban centres.
“The test centre moving to Ardee is going to cause great difficulties in a county where, in reality, two testing centres are needed, in Dundalk and Drogheda. There is a particular, urgent need for a testing centre in Dundalk where the latest figures show that there are now 179.7 cases per 100,000 in Dundalk-Carlingford and 120 per 100,000 in Dundalk South.
“Imelda Munster and I have raised the issue of the test centre being moved to Ardee both in the Covid-19 Committee, with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and on the floor of Leinster House.
People in Louth, particularly in the North of the county, have to double down on their efforts to wash their hands, keep their distance and reduce the numbers of people they come into contact with. And Louth is different to other counties, where we have two huge urban centres.
“The government says it’s up to us to ‘chase down the virus’ but that’s difficult without access to testing centres near to where the outbreaks are,” stated the Sinn Fein TD.
In a response to a query from Deputy O’Murchu’s query regarding the test centre moving to Ardee Joseph Ruane, Head of Service, Primary Care CH08 confirmed the move would take place in October.
“For Louth we are currently in Muirhevnamore Health Centre and we will be moving to the HSE St Bridgid’s Complex, Ardee in October.
“The daily completed tests in Muirehevnamore for 15-22 Sept has been – 193,205,205,228,173,69,219 & 238. The vast majority of those referred for tests in Louth get the test on the same day or next day and I must acknowledge the hardwork of staff in this regard.
“Ardee, in HSE’s own St Brigid’s Complex, will provide fit for purpose facilities and when fully operational will able to provide increased capacity, based on demand, from up to 6 lanes up to 8-8, 7 days a week Monday-Sunday. This will have conservative capacity of over 3,500 tests a week if required – more than adequately meeting current demand for county Louth.
“HSE Estates review options when and if required and have led on the refurbishment works for St Bridgid’s Complex in Ardee.
“I note suggestions around locating a Testing Centre in Drogheda and all locations would be considered, if and when required. HSE Estates have also received offers from the community, as well as property owners also. It must be noted more critical than a building / location in of itself is the staffing requirement and supports. We currently are only operating at one location per county in the 6 counties and this ensures the best governance, most effective use of staff and most importantly the maximum number of individuals getting tested safely,” stated Joseph.