Testing for Covid-19 has taken place in 159 schools so far this this month, involving a total of 4,786 students and staff, all deemed close contacts of confirmed cases.

Data received by RTÉ News from the Health Service Executive shows that the overall positivity rate for schools has remained low for this period, at 2.5%, with the virus detected in 118 students and staff.

This compares to a 10% positivity rate for close contacts within the wider community.

A low positivity rate in a setting indicates low general levels of transmission of the virus.

Despite calls for wider testing in schools health authorities continue to test only those they deem to be close contacts of a confirmed case.

The figures for November bring to 20,071 the total number of individuals tested as part of testing in school communities since schools reopened in September. Testing has taken place in relation to a total of 758 primary, second level and special schools.

An age breakdown of positive cases in schools for September and October shows positivity rates of 3% and 2.6% for those aged 18 and over in primary and second level schools respectively.  Individuals in this category are likely to be staff, although the figure could include a small proportion of school students, who are aged 18 or more.  

 


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At an Oireachtas committee hearing yesterday trade union leaders complained of a lack of information regarding incidence of the virus in schools.

They drew attention to the fact that the HSE is not providing a breakdown of how many teachers and other staff in schools are testing positive with the virus as part of testing that is occurring in schools where cases are detected.