Three-quarters of contacts of confirmed cases of people with Covid-19, who had tested positive themselves, showed no symptoms of the disease.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said 73% of such close contacts who have tested positive in the past week were asymptomatic.
Speaking at the HSE weekly briefing on Thursday, he urged close contacts of confirmed cases to “come forward” for testing in order to further suppress the virus.
COVID19 (coronavirus) weekly update from OâBrien Centre for Science, UCD https://t.co/j2BPukIaHt— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) May 28, 2020
It came as HSE chief clinical officer Colm Henry said on Wednesday that transmission of the virus has been taken “off the streets” and is mainly among households.
Mr Reid said 320 close contacts were tested in recent days, with 38 testing positive.
He said Ireland is one of the first countries in the world to tests contacts of confirmed cases for the virus.
He added that, even if people do not feel they have symptoms, if they are invited to take a swab test they should do so.
“It is really important that people come forward and have the test – that is the best way to suppress the virus in the community,” he said.
Dr Henry echoed this: “Some of these people are actually pre-symptomatic. They just haven’t developed their symptoms yet.
“We know that people who become ill can shed the virus for 48 hours before they show symptoms themselves.”