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Fri, Nov
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Test figures soar as Mayo ‘opens up’ to overseas visitors


TESTING A tester is pictured at work at the Covid test site at MacHale Park, Castlebar last week. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Anton McNulty and Mike Finnerty

THE increase in the number of visitors from the UK and elsewhere to Mayo has resulted in the doubling of tests in Mayo in the last fortnight.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mayo now stands at 574 after the confirmation of a positive case on Friday. It is understood that the case involved a person staying in a holiday home in the Louisburgh area, which prompted the local GAA club to postpone their Michael Walsh Intermediate game with Balla on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, the Bellacragher Boat Club in Ballycroy cancelled sailing for the day as a precaution after a child who had been sailing with them was notified as being in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
Last Friday’s positive case was the first such case of Covid-19 to be recorded in Mayo since Wednesday, July 8 but people with symptoms of Covid-19 continue to be tested at the HSE testing centre at MacHale Park in Castlebar.
Padraic Carolan, the Senior Administrative Officer with the Primary Care/HSE West told The Mayo News that testing for Covid-19 has doubled in the last two weeks at MacHale Park.
“A few weeks ago we had an average of eleven people a day being tested. Last week our average was 31. This week to date it’s over 30 every day,” he said last Thursday.
“Things change so quickly. A few weeks ago we were looking at winding down test sites all around the country completely — from 40 to 20. And then when the requirement went up again we went back to square one.”
Tiernaur-native, Dr Gillian Chambers, the Clinical Lead for the Covid test site at MacHale Park believes that the increase of visitors to Mayo presenting with symptoms has led to the increase.
“In the last two weeks we’ve seen a doubling in our referrals, as things have started to open up,” she explained.
“The reason we’re getting more referrals is that we’re getting more people coming in from the UK and abroad … And if you have flu symptoms, which may be Covid or may be something else, the only way you’ll know is if you have the swab.”