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HSE recruits 800 staff for the COVID-19 test and tracing

DUBLIN: HSE is recruiting more staff for testing and tracing to control the spread of COVID-19. The health service executive said another 800 people would be hired. Officials said contact tracing teams have been under unprecedented pressure this month due to rising positivity rates. Nearly 2,000 people between the ages of 19-74 who received positive test results for COVID-19 last weekend had to be warned about their close contacts.

Between last Friday and Sunday, more than 3,000 COVID cases were confirmed. The Clinical Lead for the Health Service Executive’s Contact Management Programme Dr. Sarah Doyle said that it was difficult to send this message to so many people.

People who have tested positive should be asked to send a message to their close contacts. This is a warning to people who have spent more than 15 minutes with a confirmed COVID-19 patient to restrict their movements and to contact their GP immediately.

Until two weeks ago, the system was handling 500 cases per day. Delays in the contact tracing system could lead to more people being infected, Dr. Doyle said. That’s why they decided to ask people to identify and inform their own close contacts, she said.

The HSE said it was taking action to recruit more people because a high number of people tested positive last weekend. If a person is COVID positive, it is very important to inform those close to him and to restrict the interaction. Otherwise it will cause the virus to spread to more people.

To avoid this, the HSE said additional recruitment was necessary to contact more people by phone, HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Michael Martin alleged that the HSE had not told its decision to make people track their own contact. But the HSE explained that this was a temporary arrangement and is now back to normal.

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