October saw a significant rise in COVID-19 cases among school children; HSE considers this as insignificant!
DUBLIN: Although statistics show a significant increase in COVID-19 cases among school children in October and November, the HSE considers this to be insignificant.
With regard to the incidence of COVID-19 outbreaks, schools are currently ranked fifth in the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) list of settings, with 2% of all outbreaks to date.
According to official statistics compiled daily by the HPSC, 3.163 (54%) of cases involving children aged 14 and under were reported in October. Since September, 85% of cases in children have been reported by HPSC.
However, HSE and National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) say that COVID-19 transmission in schools is negligible. The HSE CEO Paul Reid said that family settings play a key role in the spread of COVID-19, and that schools are not much.
Schools are ranked ahead of hospitals, with 179 confirmed outbreaks as of November 7. Only workplaces, residential institutions, long-term residential care, and private homes are ahead of schools in terms of COVID outbreaks. The largest percentage of outbreaks occurred in private homes, 73%.
Hospital admissions are low for those under the age of 15, and only 102 have been hospitalised since the start of pandemic. But 32 of them occurred in October alone, a 31% rate across the pandemic.
These public-health statistics are of concern to families of children who are struggling to meet the needs of remote learning despite living with vulnerable people at home.