Department offers staff to HSE to assist in Covid-19 contact tracing

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has offered to contribute staff to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for the purpose of assisting in ‘contact tracing’, i.e, tracing people who may have been in contact with those infected with Covid-19.

The department said it is also ready to assist with specialist disease control, should that become necessary.

A department spokesperson said: “The department has offered to contribute staff to the HSE for the purpose of contact tracing activities, and is assisting the National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin (UCD), in providing additional sample testing capacity at department labs.

The department is in a position to assist with specialist disease control expertise, if required.

The department is “working closely” with other departments as part of a “whole-of-Government” response to Covid-19.

The spokesperson said that the department “remains open for business”, and is “engaging with sectoral stakeholders to ensure that all critical services and supply chains [including food supplies] are maintained”.

Labs

As well as department staff, its laboratories are also assisting in the efforts to detect and diagnose cases of Covid-19.

A spokesperson for the department told AgriLand last week that the laboratories will be used to assist the National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD.

The spokesperson stressed that the department would continue to provide laboratory services in the areas of food safety and disease control.

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s laboratories are currently finalising arrangements to support and assist the National Virus Reference Laboratory, UCD, in dealing with the expected increase in demand for testing for the virus that causes Covid-19 over the coming weeks,” the spokesperson had said.

They added: “The department will continue to provide the laboratory supports that are essential to ensuring food safety and disease control; the continuity of food and feed supply chains [including export trade]; and the operation of other businesses [including farming enterprises and food business operators],” the spokesperson added.

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