Health services during COVID-19
- 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. There have also been restrictions to visiting nursing homes and residential care facilities. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has published an Information leaflet for visiting nursing homes and residential care facilities (pdf).
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.
Supports and resources
The HSE has a list of the mental health supports and services available.
Healthy Ireland has produced advice on how to look after your mental and physical wellbeing during the pandemic.
The HSE website, Ask about alcohol, has information on alcohol and how it affects your health and wellbeing. It has advice on alcohol use during the pandemic and how to access alcohol support services. The Department of Health has published guidance on the safe operation of drug and alcohol support groups and treatment programmes.
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).