Clusters 'virtually inevitable when schools reopen' - acting CMO

The acting chief medical officer has stated a school will not necessarily close down if a Covid-19 cluster is detected.

Dr. Ronan Glynn said a risk assessment and contact trace will be conducted before any action is taken and that action could involve the closure of a classroom rather than the entire school.

He also stated that no directive or guidance has been issued to schools regarding school uniforms and how often they should be washed.

He stated It is virtually inevitable there will be clusters when schools reopen in the coming weeks.

"But we have to balance the risk of infection versus their needs as children to educational attainment."

Asked if schools will have to shut once a Covid-19 case has been diagnosed, Dr. Glynn said the HSE will do a risk assessment and contact trace.

"There will not be a blanket approach. It may need to happen that a school closes, but the hope would be that in the main, it would only be children in close contacts with a case who might have to restrict their movements."

Asked about some schools reportedly telling parents that uniforms need to be washed every day to help curb the spread of Covid-19, Dr. Glynn said he was not aware of this being part of public health advice but would investigate the claim further.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been notified of one additional death from Covid-19.

It brings to 1,774 the number of virus elated deaths. A total of 40 additional cases have been confirmed.

There have now been 26,838 confirmed cases in Ireland. Validation of data at the HPSC led to the denotification of two confirmed cases.

The position in Mayo is unchanged with 584 cases.

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