HSE is investigating a suspected Delta case of Covid-19 at Co Offaly School.
A spokeswoman said the condition, which has yet to be confirmed, was identified through random screening and is being treated as a “potential” variant of concern.
As a result, public health teams are conducting improved contact tracing, and contacts are required to undergo tests and isolate for 14 days.
HSE says there were a bunch of cases in another classroom at the school, which didn’t examine the Delta variant.
“Please do not panic,” the spokeswoman said. “Public Health is working closely with the principal and will continue to do so throughout the weekend and throughout this incident.”
She said it was important for everyone to adhere to the Covid-19 restrictions still in place because the impact of the variable on hospitals or intensive care units was not yet known.
“Please wear face coverings and maintain a distance of two meters from others. Indoor spaces should be well ventilated with hand hygiene in mind. Those who have not been vaccinated should be especially vigilant. If you are called for vaccination, please attend.”
To date, 188 delta cases have been genetically sequenced in the republic. The variant, which is more transmissible than other strains and may lead to more serious diseases, accounts for about 5 percent of all serial cases at present.
It takes 1-2 weeks for the genetic sequence of a specific identifiable variant to be determined.
In the UK, cases and hospitalizations are starting to rise again as the alternative becomes dominant. In the north, variable cases account for about 25 percent of the total, with Derry identified as a “hotspot” with high infection rates.
The Republic and Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan and Sir Michael McBride, respectively, discussed the challenges posed by the alternative on Saturday.
After the meeting, they reminded people who intend to travel across the border in the coming days to “be alert to the epidemiological situation in relevant local areas” and to ensure that they avoid activities that may put them at risk of infection.
To highlight their “increasing concern” about the variant, they advised that everyone “should exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice”.
“It is now time for continued vigilance in order to preserve the progress made so far in each jurisdiction, until more people are fully vaccinated,” the two men said in a statement.
“People who have not yet been protected through vaccination should remain extremely vigilant, avoid crowds or large events, meet others outdoors where possible and get tested if they show any symptoms of Covid-19.”
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