A successful community rapid testing programme for Covid-19 has been completed by the village of Lecarrow in Roscommon.
The village is the first in Ireland to trial weekly rapid Covid-19 screening as part of the Health Passport Ireland pilot programme, with 150 residents participating over a six-week period, according to ROQU Group.
The system was trialled in a rural community setting to demonstrate how it can safeguard the health and well-being of local residents and their families, the firm said.
The pilot programme was conducted on a voluntary basis, with a clinical team present to administer weekly tests at a drive-through facility on the grounds of the local church.
In total, over 1,000 rapid tests were carried out during the trial period with seven positive cases detected from 150 residents who showed no symptoms and would have otherwise not been tested.
Fr. Ray Milton, parish priest in Lecarrow, Roscommon, said: “I was a participant, along with a significant number of people from our community.
“The testing had a good effect on people as it addressed their fears and anxieties about the test itself but, more importantly, that Covid-19 was not detected and there was no long delay between getting tested and getting the result.
“The trial has given a great degree of confidence back to people and the feedback has been wonderful,” Fr. Milton added.
Robert Quirke, CEO of ROQU Group, said: “This trial was very much led by the local community and they engaged at every level from sourcing a suitable location to scheduling the testing at times that facilitated everyone.
“By working with the Lecarrow community, we have been able to stress-test how the screening system works in the real world and it has been very reassuring for the local families.
“It has shown that, by combining rapid testing with technology, the Health Passport system is an efficient screening solution.
The system has already detected many positive cases amongst asymptomatic people, not only in the village of Lecarrow, but with the rest of our trial partners who we are screening on a weekly basis.
“Having a positive case identified has meant that people can isolate and seek medical help at an early stage and prevent transmission.”
Health Passport Ireland
Health Passport Ireland, engineered in Ireland by ROQU Group, combines the latest digital technologies with validated Covid-19 testing solutions.
Launched in August, the Health Passport Ireland pilot trial is taking place across a wide range of real-world settings including schools, nursing homes, hospitals, hotels and businesses, and is being provided at no cost.