The health services official said there has been an increase in demand for close contact testing in schools since classes resumed in recent days.
Niamh Oberin, Head of Testing and Research Service at HSE . told Irish Times It has been testing close contacts at 631 schools since reopening began last week.
Pupils at more than 100 elementary schools have been tested daily since Tuesday this week, and 75 high schools took the test on Thursday. By lunchtime Friday, 29 high schools were set aside for close contact testing, with demand for the service increasing as more schools resume teaching.
Ms O’Bairne said the high demand for tests among close school contacts was a reflection of the level of Covid-19 in the community, not evidence of its spread within schools.
« These kids caught covid in the community and went to school with her, and they didn’t get covid in school, » she said. « There is a high percentage in the community … 30 percent of all our cases are under 18, » she said.
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She said there would be a better indication of the degree to which Covid might spread in schools, if it were spreading in schools at all, once the results of the two tests scheduled to be done on the close contacts of the children who are now being tested are back. « There is no evidence yet of transmission at the school as we are waiting for day 1 and day 10 test results. »
GAA . effect
Meanwhile, it said HSE’s testing and tracking teams had not detected any significant increases in Covid linked to recent GAA successes in Mayo and Limerick, and similarly, had not detected an increase in transmission linked to Galway races.
While Ireland is currently experiencing very high rates of disease, case numbers have been declining since mid-August, according to the latest Health, Safety and Environment Update.
The Center for Health Protection Surveillance says the infection rate peaked at about 515 cases on August 23 and is now 493. The infection rate is increasing in nine counties and declining in 19. Three counties — Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan — have 14-day cases of more than 1,000 cases.
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