Staff Covid-19 Test Booking System

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a virus. Infection makes some people very ill. Some people get very mild illness or have no symptoms at all. A person can be infected without knowing they are infected. A person can spread infection to other people without knowing they are infected.

COVID-19 swab testing of Nursing Home staff
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that all staff who work in a nursing home be asked to have a swab taken once a fortnight. This testing is being performed as part of response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This swab testing aims to identify staff within nursing home settings, who have the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.

What are the benefits of this testing programme?

•    Identify staff within nursing home settings, who have the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.
•    If COVID-19 is detected in any swab results, action can be taken to protect you and your family and to limit the spread of the virus and prevent outbreaks in the nursing home setting.
•    Identifying and reducing the spread of the virus among staff may support the nursing home’s ability to maintain staffing levels and to continue to provide quality care and support.


Who is being tested?

All staff members in nursing homes will be tested unless they:
•    Have had a COVID-19 ‘detected’ result in the past three months
•    Are self-isolating
•    Already have a COVID-19 test appointment

Do I have to have a swab taken?

You will be asked to give your permission verbally for the COVID-19 swab to be taken. You have the right to refuse and you do not have to give a reason for this decision. If you do not want to have the swab taken, you should tell the person who is asking for your consent that you do not want to be swab tested. This decision will be treated in confidence. Notwithstanding this, testing is highly encouraged and will help protect you, your family, residents, colleagues and your community from Covid-19.
How is testing organised?

The HSE will contact the manager of the nursing home to arrange a testing visit. The manager will be asked to provide the following details for each staff member being tested: Name; Gender; Date of Birth; Home Address; Mobile Telephone Number. This information is provided with your consent.

This information is collected to ensure that each sample taken is linked to the appropriate staff member. The information is also used to notify you about the results of the test, and to support contact tracing if that is required. All information is transmitted securely and treated in confidence.


Where will testing be carried out?

Swabbing will take place in the nursing home in a designated room. Swab testing will be carried out by trained Nurses from Elm Hall who have completed the HSE approved training course. 


What happens during testing?

A sample is taken from the back of the throat and nose. The tester will use a swab to take the sample.


What if I have symptoms on the day of the test?

If you have symptoms on the day of testing, do not come to work. Stay at home and call your doctor who will arrange testing if you need a test. The test at work is only for people who have no symptoms.

What if I have already had a ‘detected’ result on an earlier test for COVID-19?
If you had a COVID-19 test taken in the past three months and received a ‘detected’ result, there is no need for you to take part in this testing programme.

When will I get my test result?

You will receive your test result by text or telephone call. If your result is positive, a HSE staff member from our Contact Tracing Centre will communicate your results to you by phone. You can expect to get your result within 3 days. If you have not got a result in 3 days, you should contact the Health Care Worker COVID Helpline on 1850 420 420 Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm or HSELive on 1850 24 1850 Mon - Fri 8am-8pm and Sat - Sun 10am - 5pm.

What does my result mean?

1.    “COVID-19 detected”. This means that you are infected with Covid-19.
If the test is ‘COVID-19 detected’, it means the laboratory found parts of the virus in the swab. This result means that you have infection with the virus or that you had infection recently and your body has not yet cleared all the virus. If you have a COVID-19 detected result, you will be asked to stay off work for 14 days from the day you had the swab taken. You should contact your GP to make them aware of the positive result.

2.    “COVID-19 not detected”. This means the virus was not found in the sample
If the laboratory does not find any virus on the sample that most likely means that you are not infected on the day the sample was taken. However, no test is perfect. The test does not prove you were never infected. If you were infected some time ago the virus may have cleared by the time the test was taken. If you develop symptoms any day after the test is taken, you should not go to work and contact your doctor to ask if you need another test.

3.    “Indeterminate”, “Invalid” or “Inhibitory”. This means there is no clear result
Sometimes a sample does not give a clear result. This is called an indeterminate result. It means that there was a signal of some sort from your sample but it is not a clear signal and the laboratory cannot say that the virus is there. Sometimes the lab will be unable to get any result when it tests your sample. This is called an invalid or inhibitory result. In the case of one of these results, you will receive a letter explaining the result. If you receive an Indeterminate, Invalid or Inhibitory result, you can continue to come to work if you continue to have no symptoms. If you develop symptoms any day after the test is taken, you should not go to work and contact your doctor to ask if you need another test.

Will my test result be shared with my employer?

It is sometimes necessary for your test result to be shared with someone senior from your employing facility e.g. Occupational Health, Director of Nursing or a nominated doctor. This is done in the interests of public health, to ensure the safety and best care of residents and other staff. The HSE will try to make sure that you are informed of your test result first. The HSE will only share the minimum necessary data to undertake safe public health actions within the facility, and this will be done in compliance with GDPR and Infectious Diseases legislation 1981 as amended.



Thank you for your co-operation and assistance with this swab testing programme.

A dedicated COVID-19 phone line for all healthcare workers is available. It has been set up to give staff and managers information, as well as medical and nursing advice. Callsave 1850 420 420.
Lines are open from Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm.