A Cork GP says there has not been a disproportionate rise in cases of Covid-19 since children returned to school earlier this month.
Speaking to the Echo, Dr Mary Favier, Covid-19 advisor to the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said that while cases of Covid-19 have been reported among children in recent weeks, that this is “in no different rate to the general population”.
“While loads of children have had testing in the past three weeks, the positivity rate, the number that is coming back confirmed has actually fallen and is lower as a percentage because there are so many of them being tested - that’s really reassuring because we are not missing them,” she said.
While there have been a number of confirmed cases in schools in Cork and some clusters, whereby two or three cases have been identified, that there is “no actual confirmed outbreak in a school” in Cork whereby cases are linked to each other and that the only place those children could have contracted Covid-19 is from each other in school as opposed to other settings.
“We have a number of cases where there is more than one case in a school,” she said adding that it is being found that in these cases a different setting “was actually the source of the contacts rather than the school.”
There has been one cluster identified in a school in Kildare, with the school advised to close while HSE investigations are ongoing after testing in the school community.
Dr Favier, meanwhile, said parents have been very vigilant since schools returned.
“They are paying attention and doing all the right things and consulting all the right advice and keeping children at home and the schools have done absolutely trojan work to get this to happen,” she said.
Dr Favier said the HSE algorithm, which is available on their website, is a very useful tool for parents on what to do with their child.
“If they’ve just got a runny nose and they are otherwise well and they don't have a temperature, yes they can go to school and it goes through all the symptoms.
“If you are not sure ring your GP. If in doubt, don't send the child to school -they [parents and guardians] don't need to self-isolate themselves, just keep that child home while you are not sure, the other children can go and the parents can go to work, but if it continues and you are not happy, call your GP,” she said.
On Thursday, the HSE said that there have been 96 schools where students or teachers have had to be tested for Covid-19 with 35 cases confirmed from over 2,100 tests.