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None of the Covid-19 cases identified in 54 schools so far have led to outbreaks

There has only been one school in which a second case was identified after an original confirmed case.

Image: Shutterstock

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE said they are reassured by the experience with the re-opening of schools as there have been no outbreaks identified so far in the two weeks they have been open.

Speaking at the HSE’s weekly briefing today, Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said there have cases in 54 of the 4,000 schools that have reopened.

“In only one of these cases has another case been identified and in none of those cases so far has an outbreak been declared.”

He said it does not appear that the re-opening of schools is leading to significant outbreaks or contributing to community transmission and in the majority of cases it is believed the children acquired the virus in the community.

He said it is still “early days” but drawing on that data and on the international experience with reopening schools, “it certainly gives some reassurance”.

Dr Henry said the decisions made by public health departments when a case is identified will differ depending on the individual settings and circumstances.

“The infrastructure of some schools, the layout of some classrooms, the establishment of pods, the flow of children between classrooms in between, will all determine who they designate as a close contact,” he said.

He said in an ideal scenario there would be a minimum number of close contacts in a small pod in a classroom with no interaction at any other level, but this is not always possible.

In some of the 54 cases so far, the decision was made that the entire class were close contacts, in others it was a smaller number of children.

Health officials today also reported a significant increase in demand for testing in the community with many of the referrals relating to school-age children.

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Today alone there are 12,000 swab appointments scheduled in community testing centres.

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