People working in “complex” settings who test positive for Covid-19 are not allowed to list their close contacts on a dedicated portal, the HSE has confirmed.
A number of teachers have complained that they were unable to list their close contacts on the portal after they confirmed their profession.
The HSE has moved to reassure them that they will instead be phoned within 24 hours by a tracer in order to get the full details of their close contacts.
It is understood the primary school teachers’ union, the INTO, has raised the issue with officials in the Department of Education.
The “List Your Contacts” portal is an option provided via text message to those with confirmed cases of the virus. The HSE said confirmed cases receive a telephone call from the contact-tracing team anyway but that inputting the information “speeds up the process” of notifying their close contacts.
A number of teachers have pointed out, however, that when they specified their profession, the option to list their contacts disappeared.
“Certain categories of people are excluded at the start of the List Your Contacts process and advised that a contact tracer will call them to get their contacts – this generally applies to people working in, attending or staying in settings that are more complex,” the HSE said.
“Currently, we are contacting cases by telephone to get details of their close contacts within 24 hours. If anyone has concerns in relation to this process we are happy to follow up with them individually.”
In his most recent letter to Government, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan noted that the number of close contacts, generally, had increased significantly.
“According to the Contact Management Programme (CMP), from November 1st-7th, 2021, the total number of close contacts was 50,027, an increase of 150 per cent on 20,240 in the previous week. The average number of cases managed per day increased from 2,704 to 3,585, an increase of 33 per cent over the same time period.”
He said that for the roughly 4,000 “household close contacts” in the week ending October 24th, a third had a positive result.