BAM Ireland has confirmed the introduction of weekly Covid-19 testing for all workers at the New Children’s Hospital (NCH) site. The move will bolster the already strict mitigation protocols in place at the site and will see more than 1,000 workers tested every week in a partnership with Irish company HealthWatch Screening. It is expected to identify small numbers of positive cases prior to any symptoms appearing, further reducing the risk of transmission and giving even greater security and confidence to all stakeholders involved in the project.
The NCH has been designated an essential public project and construction has been allowed to continue during the latest Level 5 lockdown. Significant progress has been made on the project with construction expected to reach the 7th floor, the highest point of this 165,000m2 building in the coming weeks. A Satellite Centre for the NCH has also been completed at Blanchardstown with another in Tallaght still under construction.
“This is a timely initiative to further ensure the health, safety and well-being of everyone involved in the construction of the project. Covid is a huge challenge for society and for our industry, particularly when we are working adjacent to one of the most important hospitals in the country. While we had already invested heavily in excellent safety technology and protocols, BAM and our subcontractor partners believe proactive testing is appropriate for the current wave of disease we are experiencing,” said BAM Ireland CEO Theo Cullinane.
Saliva PCR testing is one of the most reliable Covid-19 tests available because it looks at the genetic material of the virus and is a very effective way of identifying Covid-19 infection. All tests are reviewed by an accredited laboratory with results back in as little as 12 hours. Anyone testing positive is personally called and then organises an official HSE Covid-19 test via their GP.
Last week, BAM carried out staff training and a successful trial screening for Covid-19 of 336 personnel. This detected six confirmed cases who had no symptoms and were immediately sent home to begin their quarantining. The weekly serial testing of the full site, in excess of 1,000 personnel, commenced this week and will be undertaken for a minimum of six weeks, at which point the programme will be reviewed in light of prevailing conditions at the time.
BAM NCH Project Director Howard McDonagh added, “We know that the quicker cases are identified, the easier they can be contained, reducing any potential disruption to productivity and ensuring this crucial national project can continue to be successfully delivered in a safe environment. We have had no onsite transmission of Covid-19 since the pandemic began which is a testament to our diligent staff and the health and safety measures we have put in place. The implementation of the weekly serial programme has been very well received and everyone is fully behind it, as its importance to society is clear.”