LISTEN: New COVID-19 assessment centre opens in Derry/Londonderry

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by Gráinne Connolly

A new GP-led centre has opened in Derry/Londonderry to assess patients with coronavirus.

The 'COVID' centre is based at the out of hours Western Urgent Care building at Altnagelvin Hospital.

It aims to remove assessments for coronavirus away from normal GP practices, so doctors can focus on treating other patients without the infection and the risk of becoming infected.

Meanwhile, the dedicated assessment centre will also help manage the surge in cases expected in Northern Ireland, in the coming weeks.

Dr Tom Black from the British Medical Association told Q Radio, the centre is not for tests and not for walk ins. 

He said patients with suspected COVID-19 must contact their GP practice, their doctor will triage symptoms and decide whether patients should stay at home with medication or in serious cases be transferred to hospital via ambulance. 

Meanwhile, those in between mild and serious symptoms may be told by their GP to attend the COVID centre to be assessed. 

Dr Black also says it's hoped there will be a COVID centre set up in every part of Northern Ireland by next week.

Meanwhile, as the number of tests carried out for coronavirus are to be increased next week, Dr Black has called for more workers in the health sector to be tested. 

He said staff on the frontline are being forced to self-isolate due to being in contact with patients with coronavirus, which is reducing the number of staff tackling the virus. 

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