28 Jan 2022

Department of Public Health Mid West confirms Covid-19 outbreaks in schools

Department of Public Health Mid West confirms Covid-19 outbreaks in schools

THE Department of Public Health Mid-West has confirmed it has been notified of 11 Covid-19 outbreaks in schools across the region.

While the location of individual outbreaks has not been disclosed it says the vast majority of cases in schools come from outside the school setting and that this occurs more frequently when there is a high level of infection in the community. 

It's not known if the outbreaks have been reported in primary or secondary schools.

"It is the department’s experience that basic mitigation measures are effective in preventing onward transmission where a child or staff member is attending school while infectious. Transmission can still occur in the school setting where mitigation measures are in place, albeit very infrequently," said a spokesperson.

"While children are highly unlikely to develop serious illness if they are infected with Covid-19, we ask parents to be conscious of their children’s social activity outside school," they added.

Separately, public health officials are managing a small number (less than five) of outbreaks linked to long-term care facilities in the Mid-West as well as a small number of outbreaks connected to workplaces across the region.

"While there was a significant number of outbreaks linked to workplaces in the summer, workforces have attained a great understanding of what constitutes a Covid-safe work environment, and the business community should be commended for its efforts to date," said a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health Mid West.

Meanwhile, as of close of business on Monday, 1,242 cases of Covid-19 had been reported across in the region over the previous 14 days including 732 in Limerick, 383 in Clare, and 127 in North Tipperary.

Commenting on the recent trends, Dr Mai Mannix, Director of Public Health Mid-West, said: "While our department is busy managing a significant number of complex outbreaks across the region, there is a lot about which the public can be optimistic and hopeful. The significant uptake in the Covid-19 vaccine has resulted in a huge shift in the rate of illness and death among our most vulnerable and the older population across the region. If it wasn’t for the public’s commitment to the vaccine programme, the outcome would have been very serious amid the current rate of infection in the community."

Dr Mannix added: “We continue to see widespread transmission in the community, so we ask that everyone who is eligible for a vaccine to do so as soon as possible, and to remain vigilant and cautious when following Public Health guidelines in public, in busy or crowded areas, and where there is an increased risk of infection.”

The Department of Public Health Mid West says it is aware of increased social activity among young people, particularly in Limerick, over the past two weeks and it is urging young people to register for a vaccine if they have not already done so, and to socialise sensibly.

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