Naughten tells Dáil 'contact tracing is so poor that employers informing staff'

Longford Leader reporter

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Denis Naughten TD has told Dáil Éireann that there is so little confidence in the contact tracing system that employers are being provided with Covid-19 test results in order to inform employees.

“Those with responsibility for the management of Covid-19 are left in the invidious position of waiting weeks for the contact tracing system to inform staff of their results or trying to get the information out quickly in order to reduce the spread of the infection. This cannot be tolerated, results should be provided directly to those tested as soon as they become available,” stated Denis Naughten. 

“I personally know of one family who waited 7 weeks to get results and who ultimately only received their results after I brought this delay to the direct attention of the HSE’s national management.

“These delays in contacting those tested and following up on their close contacts is dictating how clusters of infection are being managed.

“For example, I could not understand that if there was such a swift turnaround in testing, as outlined to TDs by the HSE, why meat plants were not closed by public health officials until the Covid-19 screening results came back.

“But clearly the reason for the current management of clusters is because of the inordinate delays in providing results through the contact tracing system.

“What seems to be happening is that positive results are prioritised for disclosure and negative results are long-fingered because all results would have been issued to the contact tracing system by the laboratory at the one time. There is no other reason why there would be weeks of a differential between staff in a single facility being informed if they are positive or negative.

“This failure to get the system right is undermining the heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances,” concluded Denis Naughten.