New rules have been introduced for COVID-19 testing, as of March 24th, 2020. Patients will have to display two major symptoms and fall into a priority group in order to be tested.
HSE advises calling your GP to be assessed for a test if you have a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above) or chills and one of the following major symptoms:
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath
- breathing difficulties
If you are experiencing these symptoms and are concerned you have been in contact with a person infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19), self-isolate and contact your GP (family doctor) by phone. You can also call HSELive on 1850 24 1850 for further guidance.
Use the phone. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Your GP will assess you and decide if a test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is necessary.
While you wait for your test please self-isolate. The people in your household will need to restrict their movements.
Following the new testing rules the following only will be considered:
- A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
- A patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset;
- A patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath; AND requiring hospitalization) AND in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation.
Priority groups for testing include people with specific symptoms of coronavirus who are also:
- close contacts of a confirmed case
- healthcare workers who are in the frontline and have regular patient contact
- those most at risk of severe infection such as people with diabetes, immunosuppressed, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease and smokers
- people who live with those in the above groups
- staff and residents of nursing homes and other residential care settings and those in direct provision, homeless, Roma and travelling community settings where symptom management is difficult
- pregnant women to ensure they are managed safely in hospital
See further information at the links below:
- HSE Coronavirus testing information – read here
- Assessment and testing pathways for COVID-19 – read here
1850 24 1850
for guidance on COVID-19