Covid outbreaks in schools and childcare rise sharply, data shows

Number of clusters in workplaces decline while there none reported in nursing homes

The number of outbreaks in schools rose six-fold in a week, to 31 last week from five the previous week. Photograph: iStock

The number of outbreaks in schools rose six-fold in a week, to 31 last week from five the previous week. Photograph: iStock

 

Covid-19 outbreaks in schools and childcare settings rose sharply last week, while outbreaks in workplaces declined, latest figures show.

The positive impact of vaccination is also clear, with no new outbreaks in nursing homes reported last week and the lowest number of hospital outbreaks this year. Nursing home residents and staff and healthcare workers were the first cohorts to be immunised against the virus this year.

The number of outbreaks in schools rose six-fold in a week, to 31 last week from five the previous week, according to the latest weekly report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Childcare outbreaks doubled from 11 to 22.

A total of 82 cases linked to schools, and 43 linked to childcare, were reported.

The number of workplace outbreaks, at nine, is the lowest for several months, though one of these outbreaks involved 66 cases.

Family outbreaks in private houses rose again from 146 to 172, but remains below the levels seen in February and March.

The total number of outbreaks last week was 312, up 62 on the previous week. However, 53 of the outbreaks reported last week actually occurred earlier in the year.

The three hospital outbreaks ranged in size from two to 11 cases, according to the report. Here were two outbreaks in centres for disabilities but otherwise none in any of the other residential institutions.

Among at-risk groups, there were eight outbreaks in the Traveller community - involving 45 cases - and two in direct provision centres.

The nine outbreaks in workplaces included three in construction, three in manufacturing and one apiece in food processing, offices and emergency services. Twelve cases were travel-related.

Separately, 2,676 people contracted Covid-19 in hospital between June 2020 and the end of February, according to the HSE. This figure was provided to Aontu leader Peadar Toibin.

The mean age of people who have died with Covid-19 is 81 per cent and 87 per cent had underlying conditions, according to HPSC data.