Public Health Measures

Ireland is moving to Level 5.

You can see the measures in place here.

HSE COVID-19 Test and Trace is open this Christmas

When you need a test for COVID-19, our health service works hard to make this as quick and safe as possible for you. If you feel unwell on a public holiday, the weekend or in the evening, the GP out of hours service can refer you for a test too. The GP referral and test are both free of charge. Most people will get a test appointment within 24 hours.

A new Test and Trace video is available here and sets out step by step how test and trace works.

Contact tracers will continue to call people who test positive for COVID-19 and trace their close contacts to give them public health advice throughout the Christmas and New Year. Contact tracers will advise close contacts to restrict their movements for 14 days and arrange a COVID-19 test. People who test positive and/or who have symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate in a room on their own and avoid other people. This will help stop the spread of the virus.

GP out of hours services are available throughout the country at weekends and evenings this Christmas. You can find contact details for your local GP Out of Hours Service here.

COVID 19 Guidance for staff working in residential care facilities for older people

Guidance for healthcare workers and managers delivering care in residential settings for older people is available here. This section of the website has been set up as a central point of contact for residential care facilities to access up-to-date clinical guidance, information and links to inform care and supports in these settings.

Residents of nursing homes have been identified as a particularly vulnerable group. They have a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population of similar age. Particular attention is needed when caring for Older People to support the prevention of COVID-19, identification of symptoms and clinical management of residents in these settings.

Keeping well this winter

The Keeping Well this Winter campaign has some further interviews aimed particularly at older and vulnerable people.

You can watch Dr Vida Hamilton, HSE’s Clinical Advisor for Acute Hospitals chat to Daíthí and Sinéad on RTE’s Today show here. Vida has lots of advice on accessing routine and emergency healthcare services, the protective measures that staff have taken in healthcare settings along with what to do if you think you have COVID-19.

Anne Rizzo, Regional Programme Manager Limerick City and County Council talks to journalist Eoghan Corry for a Senior Times podcast on the actions and initiatives of county council staff and volunteers around the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began. You can listen to Anne outline the councils’ Community Call initiatives here.

Prof Martin Cormican, HSE’s Clinical Lead on Infection Control, talks to journalist Charlie Bird for a Senior Times podcast on keeping well this winter. Martin gives very good advice on when you might need antibiotics and why taking them when you don’t need them may do you more harm than good. He also chats to Charlie about the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccines. Listen the interview here.

Please feel free to share these interviews.

Community Call supporting vulnerable people 7 days a week 8 am – 8 pm on 0818 222 024

If you are caring for people who would benefit from help with collection and delivery of essential items like food, ‘meals-on-wheels’, fuel or medicine or who are socially isolated you can call the Community Call line. Community Call has been significantly expanded to reach out to anyone who is vulnerable or isolated regardless of age or location.

Community Call is supported by the HSE, An Garda Siochana, Local Authorities, An Post, charities and residents’ associations.

Call 0818 222 024 (open 7 days a week 8 am – 8 pm).

Updated illustrated guide for children about COVID-19 tests

An illustrated guide for children about going to a COVID-19 test centre has been updated. This reflects changes to how children are being tested for COVID-19. The test that children have is simpler than the test adults have. Their test sample is taken using a nasal swab. It’s easier and quicker for your child. The guide for children is available here. For more information on tests for children, see this hse.ie advice for parents.

Free flu vaccine extended to children up to the age of 17

The flu vaccine and its administration has been made available for free for the first time in Ireland for children and young people aged from two to 17 years. Originally available for children aged two to 12 years, nearly 200,000 children have received the nasal flu vaccine through GP practices and pharmacies across the country.

The first batches of nasal flu vaccine are due to expire in the middle of January so it’s important for parents to come forward to get their children vaccinated now. You can find more information here.

How to stay safe from COVID-19 this Christmas

You can read advice here on how to stay safe this Christmas during Christmas day, Christmas visiting, shopping and going to cafes, restaurants or pubs.

Contact Calculator

Even though it’s Christmas and we want to celebrate, we’re all still at risk from COVID-19. If we all keep our number of contacts low, we can help to slow the spread of the virus.

You can use the handy Contact Calculator available here to plan your Christmas activities and count your contacts.

COVID Christmas Bubbles #SafeChristmas

The HSE COVID Christmas Bubbles campaign recreates the social distancing Bubbles ad developed in October. The ad uses the effective visual reminder of the protection we can share when we follow public health actions, and how easy it can be lost. The bubble idea makes the invisible visible.

COVID is still very much here, so even as the green shoots of hope start to come through, we need to continue to keep our guard up. We know that people will want to spend time with the people that matter to them over the Christmas season. This means increased risk of the virus spreading, making it more important than ever that we understand how protective measures can keep us all safe and slow the spread of the virus.

The campaign launched on 14th December and includes: a TV ad, Radio ad and on Social media. Please find attached a campaign partner pack with all of the details.

Stay safe this Christmas Traveller information video

The HSE National Social Inclusion office, in partnership with Pavee Point, developed the Stay safe this Christmas Traveller information video available here

New Bereavement Support line to assist staff and public during the COVID-19 pandemic

A new national free phone bereavement support line has been launched by the Irish Hospice Foundation in conjunction with the HSE. The national free phone service, 1800 80 70 77 is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm.

The support line aims to provide a confidential space for people to speak about their experience or ask questions relating to bereavement.  Callers will be listened to with compassion and be provided with emotional support and information on any practical issues that may be helpful. Read more about the new Bereavement Support line here.

Public Health Information

As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/ and https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/. Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on www.hpsc.ie where you’ll find up to date guidance for healthcare settings and non-clinical settings.

Please check here for the most up to date partner resources for COVID-19.

Please also check the Healthy Ireland site here with further resources and information on the Keep Well campaign.

You can view the latest information on how Ireland is responding to cases of COVID-19 here.

Ireland’s COVID-19 Data Hub is available here.