June 2, 2020
Gildernew welcomes extension of testing for all suspected cases

Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has welcomed an announcement by the Health Minister that all suspected cases of COVID-19 that come forward to health services are to be tested.

The party’s health spokesperson said:

“Testing for Covid19 in the north has been restricted by the Department of Health for priority cases. 

“To date anyone with suspected symptoms, and who wasn’t either a key worker or so critically ill they needed to be admitted to hospital could not get a test. Even the most vulnerable residents in care homes for instance, faced obstacles and delays to getting tested.

“Everyone who develops a COVID-19 symptom is urged to book a test and they should. Without testing every suspected case we won’t be able to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19.

“Sinn Féin has been calling for all suspected cases of COVID-19 to be tested from as far back as March.

“Previously we were told by the Minister that his Department did not have the capacity to test all suspected cases, we now need clarity on what has changed.

“There has been concern that much of the testing capacity has been outsourced, including the handling of patient data and results.

“It is essentialthat standards around data protection and quality of service are met.

“Any testing strategy must deliver repeat testing for care homes and work to ensure that hard to reach communities and individuals have access to testing.”

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