05 Oct 2022

Derry Covid-19 centre relocated ahead of ‘potential second surge’

Western Trust meeting also told that local healthcare staff are now able to avail of an antibody test to see if they’ve ever had the virus

Derry Covid-19 centre relocated ahead of ‘potential second surge’

Health Minister Robin Swann visiting Derry COVID centre in March

Derry’s GP-led Covid-19 centre at Altnagelvin Hospital will be relocated as health services reset ahead of an anticipated second wave of coronavirus.

The new centre will be moved a short distance to Anderson House at Altnagelvin.

Derry was the first city to set-up a COVID centre back on March 25 at the out-of-hours Western Urgent Care building.

The other Covid centre in the Western Trust area opened at South West Acute Hospital on March 31.

The Trust continues to maintain a state of readiness for admissions of patients with suspected Covid-19 and a further surge.

Speaking at the Western Trust’s monthly board meeting, Dr Anne Kilgallen, Chief Executive, said: “Both centres continue to operate, preparing for a potential second surge.

“The Altnagelvin centre will move to Anderson and South West centre will reduce its footprint to free up space in the outpatient department.

“Movements are allowing us to recommence our outpatient services.”

Antibody testing has been offered in the Trust area as of July 31, she told the Western Trust board.

These tests are used to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 virus to see if you have previously had the virus.

The test works by taking a blood sample and testing for the presence of antibodies to see if you have developed an immune response to the virus.

A total of 714 tests were carried out and only 14 returned as positive, which Dr Kilgallen described as an ‘interesting find’.

A Covid swab testing service available to staff, patients pre-operatively and staff in the independent sector continues to operate at C-TRIC at Altnagelvin Hospital and Lackaboy in Enniskillen.

However, those services are also relocating in August as part of reset plans.

The latest NISRA statistics show that 29 people have died of Covid-19 in Derry City and Strabane.

In the council area there have been 232 confirmed coronavirus cases – 8 in the last 14 days.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic a network of new Primary Care Covid-19 centres were then rapidly established to manage the growth of Coronavirus cases in the community. 

They were seen as an essential part of the fight against this virus.  

To ensure vital GP services can be maintained, it is believed to be absolutely critical that those who show symptoms are separated from the patients with non Covid-19 related conditions.  

These centres are not testing facilities and are only for patients who are very unwell, are suspected of having Covid-19 and require medical attention.

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