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Return to GAA action moves closer as HSE close Centre of Excellence testing facility

The HSE have closed the Covid-19 testing facility that they set up some months ago in Laois GAA’s LOETB Centre of Excellence.

A spokesperson for the GAA confirmed that the HSE wound up operations on the site on Friday July 3.

So now, any Laois person who is displaying Coronavirus symptoms and is sent forward for a test will presumably be going to the Coronavirus Assessment Hub on the grounds of St Fintan’s Hospital or the HSE’s purpose built site in Tullamore.

The move is certainly a welcome one for the GAA as it comes less than a month when action is set to recommence in MW Hire O’Moore Park.

The first championship action there will be on Thursday July 30 and games will run at the stadium until October.

The decision to close the testing facility comes as Laois now has one of the lowest infection rates in the country.

Laois has 265 confirmed cases and hasn’t recorded a new one since June 20.

Only five counties, Leitrim, Sligo, Carlow, Wexford and Waterford, have recorded fewer cases than Laois since the outbreak began here in March.

Separately, figures from the HSE show that there have been one million downloads of the COVID Tracker App since it went live less than 48 hours ago.

The app, which was launched on Tuesday by the Department of Health and the HSE, is designed to enhance existing contact tracing measures in Ireland and to help manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Commenting on the figures, Paul Reid, CEO, HSE said: “The app comes at an important time as we begin to move about more and will support us in managing future cases.

“I would encourage those who have not yet downloaded the app to do so, and for the 1 million people who have already downloaded the app, I would ask them to share it with their friends and families.

“The more people who download the app the greater its impact will be.”

The COVID Tracker App is now available to download from the App Store and Google Play and has three specific functions:

1. Digital contact tracing of close contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

2. Allows users to record if they have symptoms.

3. Provide daily information about COVID-19 from a trusted source.

If a person using the app tests positive for COVID-19 they can choose to anonymously alert to other app users who they have been in close contact with, including people they may not know.

Those who receive an alert will also have quick and easy access to advice and testing. This will support existing testing and contact tracing measures that are in place.

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