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HSE chief says eliminating coronavirus not realistic

Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid has said eliminating coronavirus is not realistic and plans are no longer centred around a second surge, but around managing the peaks and troughs of the virus that are beginning to emerge.

He told the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response that the number of testing centres around the country has been increased to deal with the recent increase spike in cases.  Mr Reid said that when they were dealing with ten cases a day, 48 centres was not the best use of teams, but they have now stepped back up to 28 centres . 

In response to Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill's question about what would happen if there is an outbreak in a school, Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said it is inevitable that there will be cases in schools

Dr Henry said that public health departments will carry out a risk assessment approach and will look at the individual characteristics of the school, rates of community transmission and the capability of the school to adhere to infection control and prevention measures.

He said that it is not a "box ticking" experience is an individual assessment based on a set of principles by public health experts. 

Dr Henry said that one of the challenges is distinguishing between Covid and non-Covid illnesses within children.

Mr Reid also told the committee that work is under way on a plan to get through the winter months and 2021, which will range from different approaches aiming to keep people out of hospitals and investments in homecare packages. 

He said another support would be using the private hospitals in a different way to how they were used in the first phase of the pandemic. 

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn will also appear before the committee later today. - Source, RTE News

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