There has been a sharp decline in referrals for COVID-19 testing among people aged 15-24, the HSE has said.
Speaking this yesterday, HSE National Lead for Testing and Tracing Niamh O’Beirne said the positivity rate among tests carried out in this age group has also declined, dropping from 22% to 16%.
The positivity rate among children aged 0-14 has also fallen.
“That age group were our highest number of referrals, and they have lowered quite significantly in the number of them coming forward for testing. Their positivity has also gone from 22% to 16%,” Ms O’Beirne said.
“This is driving cases to fall overall and community positivity levels to fall also”.
She added that the positivity rate from tests carried out in the community has dropped from 14.5% to 12%, while the overall positivity rate stands at 9%.
The Executive is carrying out an average of 15,000 COVID-19 tests every day.
Ms O’Beirne said that 16,000 tests were completed last Monday, which was “the highest to date during this wave”.
As schools return, Ms O’Beirne also said that 700 schools have come forward to report a positive COVID-19 case in their setting since reopening this week.
She said the HSE is currently referring children for testing and assessing their close contacts.
“What it means is that a child contracted COVID-19 in the community and went to school when they were positive,” Ms O’Beirne said.
She added that the positive cases do not mean that there is transmission of the virus within schools.
Over time, she said, as children complete the initial test and then repeat it on day ten “that will give an indication in terms of transmission in school settings.”