There have been a further 5,471 cases of COVID-19 reported in Ireland today, with the CMO warning of a spike in cases among children.
As of this morning there were 579 people around the country hospitalised with COVID-19, of whom 122 are in the ICU.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan said “The ongoing efforts by parents and children to adhere to the public health advice during this pandemic has been fundamental to our work to drive down the incidence of COVID-19 in the community.”
“Our priority continues to be to minimise risk and protect as many people as possible from severe illness.”
“In a very short period of time, we have seen a significant and rapid deterioration in the epidemiological situation, in the as-yet-unvaccinated 5 – 11-year-olds. This has resulted in a sharp increase in incidence in this age group.”
He advised that “for at least the next two weeks” children should reduce their social contacts, and avoid activities such as indoor birthday parties and play dates, sleepovers, and indoor gatherings such as communions, confirmations, nativity and other seasonal events.
“If anyone in your household is symptomatic, they should isolate and get a PCR test. You should not use or rely on the results of an antigen test if you have symptoms.”
“If your child is a close contact of a case in school, you may be asked to use antigen tests, supplied by the HSE, as an additional tool.”
“If any stage your child develops symptoms of COVID-19 or an antigen test is ‘positive’ they should be isolated at home and parents should arrange a PCR test for them.
“One in five young adults are not yet vaccinated. Please consider vaccination for any older children in your household not yet protected.”
The COVID-19 data hub provides information on the key indicators of the disease in the community, including the status of the vaccine campaign.
The CMO acknowledged that this is not what anyone wants to hear right now, especially at this time of year, and that NPHET knows that it is an “additional burden” on families.
Face masks have also been recommended by NPHET for children over 9 in public transport, retail outlets, and indoor public settings where they are already required for older children.
Children from third class on up are also advised to wear masks in school.