A walk-in and drive-through Covid testing centre has opened in Nenagh, Co Tipperary to try to manage a large outbreak of the virus in households, workplaces and schools.
Public Health Mid-West has confirmed there have been 120 cases of Covid-19 infection there since 1 April, among 200 cases in the wider north Tipperary area since the beginning of the month, and 1,758 cases in total in 2021.
Outbreaks have been identified in households, families and extended families, schools, a number of indoor social gatherings, and workplaces.
St Joseph's CBS boys' secondary school announced it was closing last week following detection of a number of Covid cases among its senior 5th and 6th year pupils, and among a number of staff there.
Testing of pupils at the school is being managed.
A public health risk assessment also continues at the town's other secondary school, St Mary’s girls’ school after a number of positive cases were detected there.
The walk-in centre is located at the former Castle Brand factory in the town and will be open from 8.30am each day for the next week for people who live within 20km of it to come and get tested.
The service is for those who do not have any symptoms of Covid-19 and for people who are concerned that they may have been at risk of infection in the past two weeks.
Children can also be tested if accompanied by parents or guardians.
Dr Marie Carey, a specialist in Public Health medicine, said that "like many large towns there is a sizeable active population in the Nenagh community, working in and outside the town - office and industry workers, school going children and close-knit communities, and while people are being careful, there is always a greater risk of infection among an active population.
She said the walk-in centre would allow the Public Health department to identify as many positive cases as possible in order to break the chain of transmission and further outbreaks in the town.