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Sporting groups and a school in lockdown as Covid-19 cluster detected in Cork town

Youghal has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent days at a local school.

Image: Peter Zoeller

SPORTING ORGANISATIONS AND a school have been forced to delay their reopening after a cluster of Covid-19 cases was detected in an east Cork Town.

The town of Youghal has suffered a spike in cases linked to students at the local Pobalscoil na Tríonóide secondary school.

The cases, understood to number more than a dozen, caused the school to delay opening on Monday.

In a statement Principal Séamus Ó Ceallacháin said the decision was made to ensure the safety of their students.

“Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all our students and a safe workplace for all our staff.

“After consultation with Public Health regarding increased Covid-19 cases in our school, the Board of Management has decided that all students will be taught remotely at home tomorrow Monday 26th April.

“This decision has not been taken lightly but is necessary in order to complete contact tracing and ensure that all close contacts have been identified and advised by Public Health. This is the best temporary solution and we hope to resume classes as normal on Tues morning 27th April.

“We ask that Parents/Guardians ensure that their son/daughter stay safe and if they become symptomatic, please consult your GP,” he said.

It is understood that the cases originated at a birthday party last week at house in the town. Sources have said that more than 30 people allegedly attended the event and gardaí were called to the property.

“They went to the house after a number of calls, they issued a Covid-19 ticket to a man there and this is now going to be dealt with via the fixed charge notice system,” a source said.

Midleton, located 27kms to the west of Youghal, will also have a walk-in testing centre to help determine the spread of the virus.

Gardaí contacted all local sporting bodies over the weekend and discussed with them the need to close down their facilities.

One of the clubs impacted the hardest is Youghal GAA where Alan Hennessy, club secretary, said he and the management committee had decided to cease training immediately.

“Some of the people coming back would have been exposed to the virus so the club officers decided to postpone training for the week.

“After we decided that, we got a phone call from local gardaí who were contacting all local clubs and the guards were happy with how we are handling it.

“It is disheartening for younger kids, in schools that are not impacted, but for the safety of everyone in the club, which we would have 300 kids at various age groups and disciplines, we realised we needed to be responsible and do the responsible thing.

“We will hold off for another week, it is not just about the club, it’s about the people in the area, we’ll review it next weekend.

“We would like to wish everyone well, stay safe, hold firm, and we wish the people who got the virus to get well soon and that this won’t be anything too serious,” he said.

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A spokesperson for HSE South would not comment on the individual cases involved in the Youghal Outbreak but confirmed that all outbreaks have complied with regulations.

“While we do not comment on individual cases or outbreaks, the Department of Public Health is confident that all appropriate procedures are, and have been, followed in relation to the management of COVID-19 cases notified in this region to date. 

“Follow-up is arranged for anyone deemed to be a close contact. Close contacts are offered two tests for Covid-19, and advised that they must restrict their movements. Currently, the second test is arranged 10 days after their last exposure to the individual confirmed to have Covid-19.

“Without commenting on any individual case, we can confirm that this process has been followed for the close contacts of any cases notified to us recently,” the spokesperson said.

A garda spokesperson said local gardaí were investigating the outbreak. 

“Gardaí are investigating alleged breaches of public health regulations at a property in Cork this month.

“Where Gardaí identify potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case or a Fixed Payment Notice is issued where appropriate,” the spokesperson said. 

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