The HSE has confirmed there has been a surge in demand for close contact testing in schools since the resumption of classes in recent days.
The HSE’s testing and tracing service said close contacts are being tested in 631 since schools reopened last week.
Niamh O’Beirne, head of the HSE’s testing and tracing service said pupils at more than 100 primary schools have been tested every day since Tuesday of this week, and 75 secondary schools had students tested on Thursday.
By lunchtime on Friday, 29 secondary schools had been earmarked for close contact testing, with demand on the service increasing as more schools resume teaching.
Ms O’Beirne told the Irish Times the high testing demand among school-based close contacts was reflective of the level of Covid-19 in the community, rather than evidence of spread within schools.
“These children caught Covid in the community and went into school with it, they did not get Covid in school,” she said. “There’s high incidence in the community … 30 per cent of all our cases are under the age of 18 today,” she said.
She said there would be a better indication of the degree to which Covid may be spreading in schools, if it is spreading in schools at all, once the results of two tests scheduled for close contacts come back for the children now being tested. “There is no evidence yet of transmission in school as we await the results from day zero and day 10 testing.”