Covid-19: 22% rise in cases detected in schools but infection rate remains low

Number of positive cases rose from 31 to 38, the vast majority at primary level

A total of 38 cases of Covid-19 were detected in schools last week following mass testing of 2,178 pupils and staff. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

A total of 38 cases of Covid-19 were detected in schools last week following mass testing of 2,178 pupils and staff. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

 

A total of 38 cases of Covid-19 were detected in schools last week following mass testing of 2,178 pupils and staff.

The number of positive cases is up from 31 cases last week, an increase of just over 22 per cent.

The majority of cases were detected in primary schools (31), while small numbers were detected at second level (7). No cases were detected in special schools.

Despite the increase last week, latest figures indicate that transmission of the virus within schools remains low.

The positivity rate following mass testing is 1.7 per cent, about half the rate recorded prior to the mid-term break. This is up from 1.3 per cent last week.

The figures are contained in the HSE’s weekly Covid-19 mass testing report for schools and childcare facilities between November 22nd to November 28th

Most of the positive cases last week were recorded among pupils or under-18s (91 per cent), with the remainder (9 per cent) among staff or over-18s.

During the same week, a total of 395 Covid-19 cases were recorded among children of school-going age in the wider community.

The report also shows that a total of eight cases were recorded in childcare facilities last week following mass testing of 268 children and staff. Nine cases were recorded the previous week.

This equates to a positivity rate of 3 per cent.

The vast majority of cases were among children (89 per cent) rather than staff (11 per cent).

An analysis of cases in the year to date shows that positive rates are highest in childcare facilities (4 per cent), followed by special schools (3.4 per cent), primary schools (2.4 per cent) and secondary schools (1.9 per cent).

Experts say challenges facing social distancing among younger children are a likely factor in the higher positivity rates.

The total number of cases detected in schools and childcare facilities following mass testing in the year to date is 761.

Most cases have been among children (640) rather than adults (121).

These numbers only reflect cases identified following mass testing and do not include so-called index cases, which led to mass testing in the first place.

As a result, the total number of Covid-19 recorded in schools or childcare facilities is likely to be significantly higher.

For example, a total of 1,078 schools or childcare facilities have been tested to date.

Such testing typically follows a positive Covid-19 among a member of the school community.