There has been a confirmed case of Covid-19 at a community crèche on the grounds of the UCD campus in south Dublin, The Irish Times has learned.
Parents with children at the Oakmount Creche were officially informed of the development on Wednesday evening in a letter from the HSE although they had been told about it by creche management days earlier.
Children and staff in one of the Montessori rooms were deemed to be close contacts of a person with the illness and will have to self-isolate and be tested for the virus as a result.
The Irish Times understands that 16 children and two staff members have been impacted.
The crèche first informed parents of the case on Sunday evening and management took the decision to close the impacted room immediately. The rest of the crèche, which can cater for up to 100 children at full capacity, remains open.
The letter from the HSE informing them of the case was not sent to parents until Wednesday evening.
“The Department of Public Health (East) in conjunction with management at the crèche have done a risk assessment on this matter,” it said.
“On foot of this assessment it has been decided that children and staff in Montessori Room 1 are close contacts,” it continued.
“This means they will have to restrict their movements for 14 days from the date of the contact with the case which was August 5th”, adding that “as a precaution” Covid testing will be required.
“We were told about it on Sunday and our child has been home with us since then,” one parent whose child was in Montessori Room 1 told The Irish Times.
The letter management sent to parents said a staff member had tested positive on Sunday adding that they had not been in the creche since the previous Wednesday.
“As a precautionary measure I have made the decision to close the Montessori 1 room down for the moment, until we receive further clarification from the HSE,” the letter from creche management said.
“All staff, support staff and children and their siblings from this room will remain at home for now.”
It expressed the hope that it was an isolated case and said it involved transmission from outside the facility.
The parent who spoke to this newspaper expressed concern about the delay in the HSE making contact and sympathy for the management who had had to make early decisions without input from the health authorities.
“The crèche manager emailed 16 parents last Sunday but we only got the HSE letter on Wednesday evening and the authorities have still not be in touch with us to arrange testing. We are in a limbo and don’t know if we also need to self isolate or if we should send our other child to his crèche.”
Attempts to contact creche management on Wednesday night were unsuccessful.