Health services during COVID-19

Introduction

COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways.

The Government has introduced restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland.

Read about what you can and cannot do in our document COVID-19: What you need to do. It includes information for people who:

  • Are over 70 or extremely medical vulnerable
  • Have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus
  • Have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus

Read more about public health measures for COVID-19.

Health advice

The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides health information on COVID-19, including:

  • The symptoms and causes
  • How to protect yourself and others
  • Groups at increased risk from coronavirus and what they should do

If you develop symptoms, you need to self-isolate and phone a GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test. Your test and GP assessment will be free of charge.

Testing and contact-tracing

Read about testing for COVID-19, including:

  • Who can get a test
  • What to do when you are waiting to be tested
  • What happens when you are tested
  • How you get test results

If you test positive for coronavirus and have symptoms, you will be asked about the people you had contact with and places you visited in the 48 hours before your symptoms started and until you started to self-isolate.

If you test positive for coronavirus but do not have symptoms, you will be asked about people you had contact with and places you visited 24 hours before your test and until you started to self-isolate.

These people will then be contacted by a contact tracer who will tell them what they need to do. This process is known as contact tracing.

The HSE has developed a COVID-19 contact-tracing app for mobile phones called COVID Tracker.

Other healthcare measures

COVID-19 is a prescribed infectious disease so you do not have to pay emergency department (A&E) charges or in-patient charges if you are getting treatment for COVID-19.

Prescriptions now have an extended validity of 9 months and can be renewed by pharmacists. Doctors can send prescriptions to pharmacies by email. See our document on prescribed drugs and medicines for more information.

There have been visiting restrictions and service disruptions in hospitals.

For psychiatric patients, there have been temporary changes to the way that mental health tribunals work.

Private hospitals were used as part of the public healthcare response to the COVID-19 emergency for 3 months to June 2020. Private health insurance providers gave rebates to health insurance customers for this period.

Further information

If you have a question about your situation during the COVID-19 emergency period, you can call the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) on 0761 07 4000 or request a call back from the Citizens Information Service.

For people with hearing and speech difficulties and for others who have difficulty communicating by telephone, CIPS provides Live Advisor webchat.

Deaf Irish Sign Language users can get information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) using the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS). The Irish Deaf Society have produced a series of ISL videos on COVID-19 and the supports available.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has further information on COVID-19, including information for health professionals.

Ireland's COVID-19 Data Hub shows the official statistics provided by the HPSC and the HSE.

The World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Dashboard shows the number of confirmed cases by country. WHO global situation reports are also available.

Further information on the situation is also available through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

You can access sources of updated information on COVID-19 in EU/EEA countries and the UK on the ec.europa.eu website.

Page edited: 15 September 2020