Twelve Covid-19 outbreaks were reported in the HSE South region, which comprises Cork and Kerry, last week.
Latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that three outbreaks were linked with schools, however, it stressed that while these outbreaks are associated with school children or school staff, that transmission of Covid-19 within the school was not necessarily established in these outbreaks.
Four outbreaks were reported in residential institution settings in the region, two in ‘other healthcare service’ settings, one in a childcare facility and three in schools.
Another outbreak was linked with sporting activity/fitness while the final outbreak related to a private house- the HPSC said that the outbreaks in these latter two settings could be underestimated due to public health focus on key settings at present.
Separate HPSC figures show that almost 7,500 cases of the virus were reported in Cork in the two week period to December 6, with 3,853 of these cases in the last seven days.
Nationally, 139 Covid-19 outbreaks were notified for the week ending December 4, a drop of 12 from the previous week.
There were 30 outbreaks associated with schools notified - 15 related to special education, 12 to primary schools, one in a post-primary setting and two in ‘not specified/other’ settings.
There were eight Covid-19 outbreaks associated with childcare facilities.
There were 10 acute hospital outbreaks notified, 10 nursing home outbreaks, five community hospital/long-stay unit outbreaks, 26 residential institution outbreaks and 10 outbreaks associated with other healthcare services notified.
There were seven outbreaks associated with workplaces notified and one travel-related outbreak which included one confirmed VOC Omicron case.
The remaining 32 outbreaks included private houses (n=26), extended family (n=3), sporting activity/fitness (n=2), restaurant/café (n=1).
The figures come as work continues on a plan to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to children aged five to 11.
On Wednesday, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) recommended to Government that jabs should be offered to around 480,000 primary school children.
The state’s vaccine advisory body signed off on their use, with the rollout expected to take place from next month.
The dose for this age group will be lower than those given to adults.
The Department of Health and the HSE are now making plans to work in the new age group into Ireland’s vaccine programme.
The Taoiseach Micheal Martin said yesterday that an information plan will be published in days.
“Niac have now made recommendations around the administration of paediatric vaccines,” he told the Dail.
“They have recommended the following – that children aged five to 11 years with an underlying condition, living with a younger child with complex medical needs, or living with a immunocompromised adult should receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“This should be offered in parallel with booster doses for those with an underlying condition.
“The Department of Health and the HSE are now working on a plan involving the information campaign and we will do that and be back in a number of days with a plan.”
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that it is “another positive step forward” in the country’s response to the pandemic.
“As the country continues to experience a high incidence of disease, we have seen a significant increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in this age group,” Mr Donnelly added.
“While we know that most children will experience a very mild form of this disease if they pick it up, for a small few, they may become severely ill.
“Extending the possibility of vaccination to this age group offers another layer of protection to our children, and to those around them.