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Contact tracing not up to the mark, because of high pressure and lack of contact tracers

HSE has turned lazy in contact tracking and testing amid a flurry of Covid cases.

For the past few days, HSE’s contact tracers have not been able to locate or test those in close contact with Covid patients. Emerging criticism is that the crisis is caused by a lack of adequate contact tracers.

Therefore, HSE’s contact tracers have no information about the thousands of people on the contact list.

However, the HSE explained that the Covid cases are creating severe pressure as they rise sharply.

Due to high Covid cases on last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the HSE has asked those who have confirmed the disease to contact their contact lists.

The HSE has instructed to forward the test result message (if positive) to the next contact persons and they should be asked to contact the GP and undergo the test.

Normally, HSE contact tracers would traced their contacts directly and facilitate verification if a person was positive.

But all such activities are out of tune. Earlier, it was widely alleged that contact tracing and testing were ineffective.

The HSE said there have been an average of 1,080 positive cases per day over the past 13 days, which has put a lot of pressure on contact tracers.

A spokesperson for HSE said the system had been put in place temporarily in consultation with GPs and that the aim was to get those on the contact list checked as soon as possible.

He said the move would make it easier to inform those on the next contact list and support contact tracers.

The HSE Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry said that people are confident that they can quickly identify their contacts.

He said he hoped the temporary situation would be resolved soon.

HSE hopes to address this crisis by employing 60 to 70 new contact tracers each week in the wake of the Covid expansion.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD came out with criticism that this was a serious situation and that the promises of the Department of Health were in vain.

“There are constant reports coming from tracers about staff being overworked and a lack of training. Such reports have been met by denial from government,” he said.

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