Covid 19 - JOINT STATEMENT FROM ICGP AND IMO
- GPs across Ireland call on the public to follow public health advice
- Enormous demand for PCR tests and resulting delay causing frustration, but it is critical that anyone with symptoms self-isolates and waits for a PCR test
- If you have symptoms and negative antigen test, you could still have COVID-19 so you need to self- isolate and get a PCR test
The IMO and the ICGP have met to assess the situation for GPs who are facing an enormous demand for PCR tests from patients with symptoms. Following the meeting Dr Nuala O’Connor, ICGP COVID Lead and Dr Denis McCauley, IMO GP Chair have called on the public to focus on what they can do to help reduce the spread of COVID;
- If you have symptoms don’t presume it is your “usual winter cold”
- Self-isolate and either contact your GP to book a test or book one online.
Dr Nuala O’Connor said “As GPs we cannot diagnose COVID without a PCR test and it is really important that everyone with any symptoms, even mild ones, self-isolate and await the results of a PCR test. Antigen tests have their place but where symptoms are present you need a PCR. It is incredibly frustrating for patients, but we really want to keep everyone as safe as possible and that means following basic public health advice.”
Dr Denis McCauley said “GPs, like all other parts of the health system, are extremely busy with both COVID and non-COVID presentations. It is really important that we continue to care and treat non COVID issues so we need public support to reduce the spread of this disease to allow capacity for other care to continue. The best way to stop the chain of transmission is to self-isolate as soon as you have symptoms and await the result of a PCR test. Vaccination has given us hope and reduced serious illness and death among those vaccinated, but we are not out of the woods and must continue with the basic measures.”
While the PCR testing system is under unprecedented strain currently, across all test centres, an average of 97% of people referred for testing by GPs and the Contact Tracing service receive their test on the same day or the next day.
The IMO and the ICGP appeal to the public to do what is within their power to reduce the spread of COVID and all other respiratory illnesses:
- If you have symptoms self-isolate and arrange a PCR test
- If the test is positive follow the public health advice and continue to isolate for 10 days since you first developed symptoms and you have not had a fever for 5 days (both of these apply)
- If the PCR test is negative but you still have symptoms you should continue to restrict your movements until 48 hours after symptoms have passed to stop spreading other winter viruses
- When you receive an invitation to receive the COVID 19 Booster it is important to attend to protect yourself, your family and your community.