A total of 38 positive Covid-19 cases were detected in primary and secondary schools after 21,581 tests carried out on Wednesday – a positivity rate of 0.18 per cent which is below that recorded in the community, the education ministry said on Thursday.
The announcement came amid rising concern of clusters forming in the island’s schools, with fears infections would then spread to families.
One school cluster confirmed by health ministry sources on Thursday involves a Limassol technical school where 90 people – pupils and teachers – are self-isolating after 16 persons tested positive last week following a school trip. The school nevertheless is working as normal, officials added.
Rapid tests are carried out at both primary and secondary schools as the government tries to stay on top of a resurgence of the virus and to keep schools open. The education ministry said 21,581 tests carried out on Wednesday resulted in 38 positive cases – 0.18 per cent.
“This positivity rate (0.18 per cent) compares with 0.89 per cent for the wider community where after 60,444 tests 538 cases were recorded,” it said. This means that schools represent 6.6 per cent of the total number of yesterday’s cases of 576.
The ministry did not say how many of the positive cases detected from tests carried out by private initiative at labs or pharmacies involved children.
Meanwhile, a patient in Paphos Hospital ICU who had tested positive with coronavirus has been transferred to the Covid ward, Okypy spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said.
The patient had been admitted to the ICU after surgery. A first PCR test was negative, but two to three days later the ministry’s contact tracing team alerted the hospital that a close relative had tested positive. He underwent a new PCR test, with a positive result, prompting the hospital to initiate protocols to prevent further infections.
Charilaou said that the number of coronavirus patients was ticking up steadily – there was an increase of hospitalised patients from 118 to 128 on Wednesday alone. Hospitals were also under pressure because of an increase in non-coronavirus patients.
The number of Covid patients who do not have a vaccination history is also rising, and now ranges between 75 per cent and 80 per cent, he added. Of the 22 patients in the ICU on Thursday, four had received both doses, six months prior. On average about ten per cent of Covid patients require ICU treatment.
The spokesman urged the public to get vaccinated, and for those who have received both doses more than six months ago to get the booster.