You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Q&A: Why have they changed the criteria for getting a coronavirus test and what if I was already waiting for one?

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 25/03/2020 Gabija Gataveckaite and Eilish O'Regan
A medical staff displays a test kit to detect the novel coronavirus at a COVID-19 screening © Getty A medical staff displays a test kit to detect the novel coronavirus at a COVID-19 screening

The HSE have announced new criteria for those wishing to be tested for the coronavirus in order to monitor demand for tests.

Q: I thought they were going to test everybody with symptoms. Why have the rules been changed?

A: This is due to new guidelines from the World Health Organisation and also the capacity of individual countries to respond to demand.

Want to help?: Volunteer Ireland are looking for people to assist our communities' most vulnerable members during the coronavirus emergency. If you're interested in helping, click HERE

Q: Will this reduce the waiting times?

A: It should shorten the length of time from contacting the GP to being referred for a swab. Once that is done, it can take another 24 hours before the swab is analysed by a laboratory.

Q: How many test centres are up and running now?

A: There are over 40 and more are planned.

Minister for Health Simon Harris (left), Tanaiste Simon Coveney (centre) and Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan © Getty Minister for Health Simon Harris (left), Tanaiste Simon Coveney (centre) and Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan

Q: What symptoms do I have to exhibit in order to get a test?

A: The new criteria states that those wishing to be tested for Covid-19 must report a fever and at least one other respiratory disease symptom, such as a cough or shortness of breath.

Further priority will be given to those who have the "highest risk of exposure" and at-risk groups such as healthcare professionals and vulnerable people.

Q: What do I do if I have these symptoms?

A: If your fever is 38 degrees and above, or you have chills, and you have a cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, you should self-isolate and call your GP to be assessed for a test.

People in your household should also restrict their movements.

Q: What do I do if I exhibit just one symptom?

hands of a female doctor holding a thermometer with a patient's high temperature in hand © Getty hands of a female doctor holding a thermometer with a patient's high temperature in hand

A: If you are exhibiting just one symptom and are not in a prioritised group, the HSE advises that you "stay at home and self-isolate" for at least 14 days from the start of your symptoms.

The last five days should be without a fever.

Q: I'm waiting to be tested but I don't meet the new criteria - will I still be tested?

A: No. However, the HSE advises self-isolating for 14 days, with the last five days without fever. Anybody living in your household should also restrict their movements for the two-week period.

Q: I'm in a priority group and I'm awaiting a test - will I still receive one?

A: You should contact your GP to assess if you require a test and if you fall into the new case definition. The HSE coronavirus helpline is on 1850 24 1850.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right), alongside Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan © Getty Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right), alongside Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Q: What if my GP ordered a test last week but I haven't got an appointment yet?

A: You may not end up being sent to provide a swab. Check with your GP. If you do not fit the new criteria or fit into a priority group such as vulnerable people due to age or illness, or your job as a healthcare worker, then your original referral to a testing centre may not go ahead.

Q: What if I have received an appointment for a test but only ever had one symptom?

A: You should contact your GP. The important advice is to self-isolate and the same applies to other members of your household.

Q: How will I know if I've been taken off the waiting list for a test?

A: The detail of that is not yet clear. If you feel your condition has deteriorated, then contact your GP.

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

Here are the essential retail outlets that don't have to close from new COVID-19 measures (Dublin Live)

People must now display two major symptoms to be tested for Covid-19 (Irish Mirror)

Why Germany’s coronavirus death rate is so much lower than other countries’ rates (The Washington Post)

Late Late in doubt as Ryan Tubridy misses RTE radio show due to ‘persistent cough’ (Extra.ie)

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Independent.ie

Independent.ie
Independent.ie
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon