84 Covid-19 cases detected in Irish schools

There have been 84 cases of coronavirus detected among staff and students in Irish schools.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that of 4,300 tests conducted in 183 schools across the country, some 84 cases had been detected and identified.

Mr Reid urged people not to demonise any particular sector or social group in the battle against the coronavirus.

He told a briefing on Thursday that he understood the public demand for a new “magic strategy” that could target a particular group and allow others to continue their lives as normal – but said no such strategy exists.

He urged people to “deter from blaming certain sectors of the economy or society” and said the focus must remain on “stopping the spread in our homes.”

Dr Una Fallon of the HSE’s track and trace unit revealed how a connection was found between two students who tested positive in a school after they had swapped desks.

Usually we find no class transmission.

When the first positive case was reported, the entire class was excluded and all of the pupils were tested for the virus.

While they identified that the original case had been infected in the family home, they struggled to identify the source of the second infected student.

“Usually we find no class transmission,” Dr Fallon said.

Without identifying the source of the transmission, the HSE would be concerned over the potential for further spread, she added.

But after interviews with parents and teachers it was discovered that the students had swapped desks for a particular class where one of them preferred to sit closer to the blackboard.