Playdates becoming ‘significant issue’ in fight against Covid, says Reid

Playdates becoming ‘significant issue’ in fight against Covid, says Reid

Paul Reid said transmission levels within schools were not high but what was causing concern for public health officials was the increased socialising outside of the classroom. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

CHILDREN having playdates with others outside of their household has become a “significant issue”, the chief executive of the HSE has said.

Paul Reid said transmission levels within schools were not high but what was causing concern for public health officials was the increased socialising outside of the classroom.

“It’s not transmitting highly within a school,” he said.

“What is currently happening is there’s a lot of activity outside of school, and within communities.

“Playdates is very clearly one of the aspects of it coming through, or visits between households, very clear from our public health doctors that it’s a very significant issue.” 

He reminded people that the transmissibility of the new variant of the virus was much stronger than what the country had been dealing with last year.

Mr Reid also said some 750,000 Covid-19 vaccinations will have been administered by the end of the weekend.

He described the coronavirus situation in the country as “volatile” but said the foundations have been laid for the vaccination programme to be scaled up in the next three months.

The HSE has set a target of administering one million doses of coronavirus vaccine each month for the next three months.

Mr Reid said: “By the end of this weekend we’ll be close to three-quarters of a million total vaccinations completed.

“About 550,000 of those will be dose ones – so well over 14% of the population – and about 250,000 vaccinations completed of the over-70s.” He added: “What people will see as we head into next quarter is forecasted, increased supplies of about one million a month.

“Vaccinations continuing through GPs and clinics, but along with that our vaccination centres scaling up based on supplies around the country.

“They will be seeing more deliveries through our vaccination centres, through GPs, and they will be seeing it reach out wider into the community as we move through the various groups and cohorts [that are] prioritised.” Thursday saw three further deaths linked to Covid-19 and an additional 606 cases confirmed by the Department of Health.

On Thursday evening there were 312 patients in hospital with the disease including 75 in intensive care units.

As of Monday, a total of 690,449 vaccines had been administered in Ireland comprising 503,796 first doses and 186,653 second doses.

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