The proportion of primary school children who tested positive for Covid-19 in a school setting is more than double that found in schools prior to the summer break, according to the latest data.
Almost 6% of children tested in a primary school setting were found to be positive for Covid-19.
Before the summer, Health Service Executive data showed an overall positivity rate in schools that hovered at around 2% and up to 3%.
HSE data published today also shows an overall 15% rise in the number of primary school age children testing positive for the virus.
Last week the positivity rate in special schools was 8.8%. In post primary schools it is significantly lower at 3.5%.
The HSE has advised that the data published today is not complete. It represents approximately half of all school test results "because of the recent delays in the processes". It says this will likely have the greatest impact on the "not detected" results reported.
According to this incomplete report, out of 722 primary schools where testing took place, 6,549 children and adults were tested, and 381 cases of the virus were detected. The remaining 6,157 falls into the 'not detected' category. This represents a positivity rate of 5.8%.
Nine of the cases detected at primary level were among school staff.
Testing took place in relation to 18 special schools and 11 cases of the virus were detected among 125 people tested.
Six of the cases were among children, with 5 cases among school staff.
746 people were tested across 194 second level schools with 26 cases detected. All but one of these cases occurred among students.
Last week a total of 2,209 cases were detected in primary school children, compared to 1,922 cases the previous week.
The number of cases identified in among 0 to 4-year-olds, and in teenagers has fallen slightly, at 636 and 886 respectively compared to 691 and 970 in the previous week.
198 Covid-19 outbreaks identified last week
According to the latest report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, there were 90 school based outbreaks recorded in the week to last Saturday, resulting in 412 confirmed linked cases of Covid-19.
It compares with 40 outbreaks reported the previous week, with 191 linked cases.
Of the 90 outbreaks last week, 78 were in primary schools, 11 in post primary and one in special education.
There was also one outbreak in a university leading to seven linked cases.
An outbreak or cluster is two or more linked cases of Covid-19.
The overall number of outbreaks around the country last week was 198, an increase in the previous week when 169 were reported.
There were 13 outbreaks in the workplace, with 37 confirmed linked cases last week. Four outbreaks occurred in nursing homes, with 49 linked cases.
Seven outbreaks occurred in residential institutions, four in acute hospitals and two in community hospitals.
All these resulted in 75 confirmed linked cases.
COVID-19 Outbreaks/Clusters in Ireland Interim Weekly Report week ending 18/09/21. Data on 198 outbreaks were reported to HPSC by regional Departments of Public Health for week 37 2021. Full report https://t.co/uH8PG0hDcy pic.twitter.com/tjRhm6aafQ— HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) (@hpscireland) September 22, 2021
Pop-up vaccine centres in colleges
Pop-up vaccination centres will be available at 11 third level colleges from next week.
Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris said that €110m had been spent to make campuses safer for students and staff.
He said that recent figures show almost eight out of ten people in the 16-29 age cohort are vaccinated.
But Mr Harris added that every increase of a half percentage point in people vaccinated will help keep people safer.
On calls by Trinity College Dublin students for more classes and activities on campus, Mr Harris said each campus is different and it is appropriate for each institution to risk manage as it sees fit.
The pop-up clinics will be in:
University College Cork
Trinity College Dublin
University of Limerick
Dublin City University
Munster Technological University Cork
Mary Immaculate College
Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
National College of Art and Design
Athlone Institute of Technology (Technological University of the Shannon from 1 October)