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National lab announced that there will be no COVID-19 test over the weekend due to staff shortages

The National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL), one of the country’s leading labs, said COVID-19 could not be tested for the next two weekends due to staff shortages.

NVRL said COVID-19 swabs could not be processed during the bank holiday weekend, including Monday, i.e. from the 24th of this month until November 1, due to an unavoidable staff shortage.

The NVRL team have apologized for the delay in notifying the public and authorities of the decision, and for any inconvenience caused by this.

However, an HSE spokesperson who spoke at the notice said the lab’s actions would have no negative impact on testing responses.

Since March, there have been contingency plans in place in the event of an outbreak in the laboratory. The spokesperson said NVRL had split their teams into two to ensure there would not be widespread transmission. He added that there would be a continuation of services.

“NVRL ordinarily process around 600 swabs per day. Over the course of this weekend and next these swabs will be completed by community labs,” said the HSE spokesperson.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly said she was very disturbed by the notice. She asks what steps have been taken to deal with the short staffing.

“The fact that they’re short-staffed in the National Virus Reference Lab I think is very concerning but I want to know what it is that is being done to ensure that that issue is going to be addressed and that the staff are going to be available,” she asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly .

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