Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (797)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

797. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health if he will categorise teachers as essential workers who should be fast-tracked for Covid-19 tests in the same way as health workers are; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26431/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Ireland is pursuing a robust testing strategy under the guidance of NPHET and NPHET will continue to consider and review, based on public health risk assessments, how best to target testing to hunt the virus in populations where it’s most likely and where it will do most harm.

We now have capacity in place to test 15,000 people a day (100,000 tests a week).  Over 85,000 lab tests were completed in the last week, one of the highest weekly amounts to date.  The HSE advises that current demand nationally is being met, so the need for special categorisation referred to by the Deputy does not arise at this point.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has published Guidance for Educational Settings relating to the management of Covid-19 in school settings.

This guidance is available at www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/educationguidance/.

As stated by the HPSC, If a contact is an adult, including teachers, they are dealt with under the published adult close contact protocols and information on restricted movement.

The Deputy may also wish to note that schools must have a Covid-19 Response Plan and a Covid policy in place. Up-to-date Government advice and resources for schools, parents and students in the context of COVID-19, including advice on Covid-19 planning is published at www.gov.ie/backtoschool.