The Gardai may need to call to people’s doors if they refuse to come for a Covid-19 test, a TD has said.
Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd told the Dail Covid-19 committee 1,314 people who are a direct contact of a person who has a confirmed case of Covid-19, have not turned up for a test.
“That seems like a very high figure to me,” he told the committee.
Mr O’Dowd said Gardai could call to their homes and ask them to take a test as it is a serious public health issue.
He said: “I think it is a huge figure and you need to do more work on it. If it means that the Gardai (may need to) call to them.. You know who these people are – it is not a question that they are unknown.
“They are known people and you have their home addresses.
“I think they (the Gardai) should call and tell them that in the public health interest they should turn up for a test.”
Mr O’Dowd said, if people do not turn up for Covid-19 tests, then it creates a serious risk.
“That’s very serious because you could theoretically have it and give it to many, many more people.”
Fine Gael TD @Fergusodowd told the committee 1,314 people who are a direct contact of a person who has a confirmed case of Covid-19, have not turned up for a test and suggests the Gardai may have to call to their homes to compel them to attend.— Ãine McMahon (@AineMcMahon) July 21, 2020
Dr Lorraine Doherty, HSE National clinical director for Health Protection said they are concerned about people not turning up for tests.
She said: “It shows that the public are becoming disengaged with the idea of having a Covid-19 test if they are symptomatic or if they are a contact because they understand the implications of having a test and that they would need to restrict their movements.”
“For people in workplaces, they might be reluctant to be tested.
“However our public health messaging is very clear, you should have test if you are symptomatic or in contact with someone who is symptomatic.”
She said contact-tracing staff make every effort to reach people who need to come for a Covid-19 test.
“I want to reassure the committee that we don’t take this lightly at all, every effort is made to find people who are not answering their phones to come for testing.
“In Covid-19 tracing hubs, at least four or five attempts are made to contact people.”
“Where there is an inability to find them, their details are sent to the public health department as they might have local knowledge about how to find the contacts.”
A Garda spokesman said it does not comment on remarks by third parties and that the public health regulations are a matter for the Department of the Health.