Athlone test centre to open today as outbreak fears grow

A new pop-up Covid-19 test centre is set to open at St. Aloysius College in Athlone today (Thursday) following a local outbreak of the virus believed to be linked to the more transmissible Delta variant.

The centre will be open to both children and adults from 10 am to 4 pm daily until Saturday (26th). Those attending are required to bring identification.

The Department of Public Health in the Midlands is urging anyone who attended social events along the River Shannon on June 11th to seek a test.

The call comes after the HSE confirmed that it was investigating a number of suspected Delta variant cases of Covid-19 this week believed to be linked to social events close to the River Shannon over a week ago.

“These cases are associated with socialising down by the river on Friday, June 11th. It is not clear how transmission occurred. It may be that social distancing advice was not adhered to and there have been reports of house parties that night,” a statement said.

The HSE said the Delta variant is highly transmissible and that those who are not vaccinated are at risk of infection.

It urged anyone who was socialising in Athlone on Friday, June 11th and thinks they may have been exposed to Covid-19 to seek a test immediately.

Heightened concerns over a possible Delta outbreak in the midlands comes after Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan said there had been a concerning increase in the transmission of the Delta variant in recent weeks and that it now accounted for 20 per cent of new Covid-19 cases.