15% rise in primary school children COVID-19 positive

The proportion of primary school children who have tested positive for Covid-19 in a school setting is more than double that in schools before the summer break, according to the latest data.

Nearly 6% of children tested in an elementary school setting were found to be positive for Covid-19.

Before the summer, Health Services executive data showed an overall positive rate in schools that was hovering around 2% and as high as 3%.

Health, safety and environment data published today also shows an overall rise of 15% in the number of primary school-age children who have tested positive for the virus.

The positivity rate in private schools last week was 8.8%. In post-primary schools it is much lower at 3.5%.

HSE advised that the data published today is not complete. It accounts for nearly half of all school test results “due to recent delays in operations”. She says this will likely have the greatest impact on the reported “undetected” findings.

According to this incomplete report, of the 722 primary schools where tests were conducted, 6,549 children and adults were tested, and 381 cases of the virus were detected. The remaining 6,157 fall into the “undetected” category. This represents a positive rate of 5.8%.

Nine of the cases detected at the primary level were among school staff.

Testing was carried out in connection with 18 private schools and 11 cases of the virus were detected out of the 125 people tested.

Six cases were among children, with 5 cases among school staff.

746 people have been tested in 194 second-tier schools with 26 cases detected. All but one of these cases occurred among students.

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Last week, a total of 2,209 cases were detected in primary school children, compared to 1,922 the previous week.

The number of cases identified between 0 and 4 years of age, and in adolescents, decreased slightly, at 636 and 886, respectively, compared to 691 and 970 in the previous week.

198 outbreaks of Covid-19 identified last week

According to the latest report from the Health Protection Surveillance Center, there were 90 outbreaks in schools recorded in the week until last Saturday, resulting in 412 confirmed cases linked to Covid-19.

It compares with 40 outbreaks reported in the previous week, with 191 associated cases.

Of the 90 outbreaks last week, 78 were in primary schools, 11 in post-primary and one in special education.

There was also one university outbreak that resulted in seven associated cases.

An outbreak or cluster is two or more conditions associated with Covid-19.

The total number of the nationwide outbreak last week was 198, up from the previous week when 169 cases were reported.

There have been 13 workplace outbreaks, with 37 confirmed cases linked last week. Four outbreaks have occurred in nursing homes, with 49 associated cases.

Seven outbreaks occurred in residential institutions, four in acute hospitals and two in community hospitals.

All of this resulted in 75 confirmed linked cases.

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Temporary vaccination centers in colleges

Temporary vaccination centers will be available at 11 tier 3 colleges starting next week.

The Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Simon Harris, said that €110 million has been spent to make the campus safer for students and staff.

He said recent figures show that nearly eight out of every ten people in the 16-29 age group have been vaccinated.

But Mr Harris added that every half-percentage point increase in people vaccinated would help keep people safe.

In calls from Trinity College Dublin students for more classes and activities on campus, Mr. Harris said that every campus is different and it is appropriate for every institution to manage risk as it sees fit.

The pop-up clinics will be at:

University College Cork
NUI Galway
Trinity College Dublin
University of Limerick
Dublin City University
Maynooth University
Technological University of Munster Cork
Mary Taher College
Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
National College of Art and Design
Athlone Institute of Technology (Shannon Technological University from October 1st)

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