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Covid testing centre to leave MacHale Park


TESTING TIMES A medic leans in to take a swab from a member of the public at the drive-through Castlebar Covid test centre at MacHale Park. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

New facility to open in The Breaffy Woods Hotel

Michael Gallagher

The Covid-19 testing centre in MacHale Park in Castlebar will close in late January and all operations will relocate to The Breaffy Woods Hotel on the outskirts of the town.
Initially opened in March 2020, the MacHale Park operation has been an extremely busy drive-through facility, but the HSE have now taken the decision to move to Breaffy to provide an even more-streamlined service.
“We have a requirement to provide defined opening hours, seven days per week and all appointments must now be pre-booked on line,” a HSE representative stated.
“With the return of GAA training and games at the MacHale Park complex and the associated requirement for use of the on-site dressing rooms, the decision was taken to relocate to a new facility,” she added.
The Mayo News understands that the HSE plan to initially run both the MacHale Park and Breaffy operations alongside one another for a short number of weeks, but by the end of January the new site will be fully operational.
A vaccination centre already operates on the Breaffy site and while the new testing centre will be adjacent, it will be a completely separate entity. Vaccinations occur in The Sports Arena and testing will take place in the nearby Woods Hotel. There will be separate carparks and separate entry and exit points for both.
While MacHale Park was a drive-through operation, the Breaffy site will be a walk-in facility where people will park in a designated car park and follow a one way system as they walk through the test centre. This walk-in option is now in place in 90 percent of locations nationally and will increase testing capacity in Mayo by approximately 30 percent on a daily basis.
The HSE representative extended a sincere thank you to the GAA for their support and flexibility to date, and for allowing the use of their excellent facilities both in Castlebar and other locations in the region.