Joint ICGP and IMO statement – GPs urge public to self-isolate if you have symptoms – Cork Safety Alerts


  • GPs across Ireland call on the public to follow public health advice
  • Huge demand for PCR testing and the resulting delay causing frustration, but it is essential that anyone with symptoms self-isolate and wait for a PCR test
  • If you have symptoms and a negative antigen test, you could still have COVID-19, so you should self-isolate and take a PCR test.

IMO and ICGP have met to assess the situation of general practitioners who are facing a huge demand for PCR tests from patients with symptoms. Following the meeting, Dr Nuala O’Connor, ICGP COVID Officer and Dr Denis McCauley, IMO GP Chairman, called on the public to focus on what they can do to help reduce the spread of COVID;

  • If you have symptoms, don’t assume this is your “usual winter cold”
  • Self-isolate and contact your GP to book a test or book one online.

Dr Nuala O’Connor said: “As general practitioners we cannot diagnose COVID without a PCR test and it is really important that anyone with symptoms, however mild, self-isolate and wait for the results of the test. ‘a PCR test. Antigen testing has its place, but when symptoms are present you need PCR. It’s incredibly frustrating for patients, but we really want everyone to be as safe as possible and that means following basic public health advice. “

Dr Denis McCauley said: “General practitioners, like all other parts of the healthcare system, are extremely busy with COVID and non-COVID presentations. It is really important that we continue to care for and treat non-COVID issues, so we need the public’s support to reduce the spread of this disease to allow other care to continue. The best way to stop the chain of transmission is to self-isolate as soon as you have symptoms and wait for the result of a PCR test. Vaccination has given us hope and reduced serious illness and death among those vaccinated, but we are not out of the woods and must continue with basic measures. “

While the PCR testing system is currently under unprecedented pressure, across all testing centers, on average 97% of people referred for testing by GPs and Contact Tracing receive their test on the same day or on the following day.

IMO and ICGP call on the public to do what is in their power to reduce the spread of COVID and all other respiratory illnesses:

  • If you have symptoms, isolate yourself and organize a PCR test
  • If the test is positive, follow public health advice and continue to self-isolate for 10 days since you developed the first symptoms and have not had a fever for 5 days (both apply)
  • If the PCR test is negative but you still have symptoms, you should continue to restrict your movement for up to 48 hours after symptoms disappear to stop the spread of other winter viruses.
  • When you receive an invitation to receive the COVID 19 Booster, it is important to attend to protect yourself, your family and your community.

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