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Covid-19 Information

This is an important message and I encourage you to share this message with friends and family.
We hope it helps people to understand the swabbing process for Covid-19, who needs it and who does not!

We hope it helps to allay unnecessary concern and unnecessary use of frontline services. The
situation is rapidly evolving and we will post changes in service as they arise.

Most people (80%) who contract Covid-19 will have mild to moderate respiratory symptoms varying
from fever, sore throat, headache and cough. Irrespective of a positive swab these people will be
able to treat themselves at home with rest, fluids and paracetamol. It is critical that they self-isolate
immediately at the onset of symptoms so as to protect their families, friends and communities and
minimise spread. HSE has practical advice on the following link:

Please see https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/self-isolation-and-limited-social-interaction.html#self-isolate

20% of people may get more moderate to severe symptoms. Often their symptoms begin mild with
sore throat, fever, cough but may worsen particularly around day 8-9 of the illness with increased
shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. These patients should stay in contact with their GP so
we can closely monitor their progress. A percentage may require hospital referral.

Community swab testing began on the 16/03/2020.
Testing will be organised through GP practices such as ours at testing centres (not at the GP
practice).

Testing capacity is currently limited due to sheer volume and backlog of requests.
At present swab results are taking 3-4 days. However, we would be hopeful that with increased
community testing centres (30 nationwide) this delay will be improved.

It is important to know that whilst swabbing is important to monitor spread of the virus it does not
change the treatment of the patient as most will recover unaided at home.

Who needs a swab?

Concerned patients with symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing should ring
their GP. Their GP following assessment of the patient will organise a swab referral and the patient
will be advised, as above, to self- isolate immediately and await further instructions until results of
swab received (3-4 days).

Who does not need a swab?

Concerned patients with no symptoms . Irrespective of whether a family member has tested
positive or a friend/colleague/child with runny nose/neighbour/man and his dog – If you have no
symptoms the swab will be negative and you are not at risk of spreading the virus.

However, if you monitor the situation and develop fever and respiratory symptoms over the course
of a few days you will need to contact your GP.

Even if you have contracted Covid-19 and go on to develop symptoms the viral load at the initial
stage when you have no symptoms will be negative as there is not enough of the virus in your body
to generate a positive swab. So, swabbing with no symptoms could lead to false negative results.

What if my swab tests negative but I have symptoms? (80-90% of swabs presently)

There are many seasonal viruses ‘common colds’ that cause ‘flu like symptoms’ that are not Covid-
19. These are common in the community. Once symptoms are settled and you have been asymptomatic for 48 hours you may return to work and normal home life. Details also on www.hse.ie

Who needs to self- isolate at home?

Those who have symptoms of fever and respiratory symptoms and are awaiting swab test/results.
Those who test positive for Covid-19 and treat themselves at home.

Who does not need to self isolate at home?

Worried patients with no symptoms.

Who needs to practice social distancing?

All of us, to protect our most vunerable.

There are many excellent resources and information on www.hse.ie and www.hpsc.ie and
www.gov.ie.

There will be huge pressure on general practice at the moment and we ask you to be patient with
our phone system and our great reception team and doctors/nurses. We are committed to providing
our community with the best health care we can and will continue to do so through these
unprecedented times.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine,
Muide le meas,
Foireann Ionad Leighis an Spidéal.