LiveMore than one case of Covid-19 detected at NI special school - Deep cleaning and fogging of entire school - Confirmed case of Covid-19 in NI primary school

A Northern Ireland school for children with special educational needs has confirmed the detection of more than one case of Covid-19.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:45 pm

For more on this story, please scroll down.

All staff and pupils deemed by the Public Health Agency to be close contacts will now have to self-isolate.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - More than one case of Covid-19 detected at NI special school

Last updated: Friday, 12 March, 2021, 16:53

More than one case of Covid-19 detected at NI special school

A Northern Ireland school for children with special educational needs has confirmed the detection of more than one case of Covid-19.

In a letter to parents and guardians dated March 12 (today), the Principal of Longstone School in Dundonald, Ioannis Skarmoutsos, explained what measures he was taking.

“I would like to thank you for your understanding and co-operation over the past week,” said Principal Skarmoutsos.

“ All decisions are taken following advice from the Public Health Agency, the Education Authority and after consultation with the Chair and the Vice Chair of our Board of Governors.

“Our main priority is to safeguard all members of our school community.”

Principal Skarmoutsos added: “Following the recent cases of Covid19, we have acted promptly, applied all appropriate measures required and everyone identified as close contacts have been notified.

“Deep clean and fogging has now taken place throughout the school.”

Principal Skarmoutsos then explained to parents the measures he would now be taking.

“ Nursery, Year 1, Year 2 and Year3 classes will continue with remote learning until the Easter holidays and will return to school on Monday 12th April.

“All other classes will return to school from Monday 15th March apart from children that have been advised otherwise by PHA in relation to self –isolation.”

He added: “ I would like to point out that the above can change at any time if we are notified of further positive cases.”

Pre-school, nursery, primary one, primary two and primary three children returned to the classroom on Monday however the Executive is yet to announce when the remaining four primary school cohorts can return.

The Executive has said it will provide an update on schools returning on Tuesday.

One additional Covid-19 related death and 208 new infections in last 24 hours

The Department of Health (DoH) recorded one additional Covid-19 related death and 208 new infections in the last 24 hours.

The deceased male was aged between 60 and 79 and was from the Mid-Ulster council area.

The total number of Covid related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 2,097.

The DoH also recorded an additional 208 new infections.

This means the total number of infections in the last seven days and since the beginning of the pandemic is now 1,311 and 114,603 respectively.

There were six fewer inpatients with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours (183) than there were in the previous 24 hours (189).

There were also 117 intensive care unit (ICU) beds available; 23 of which were occupied by Covid-19 patients; 75 occupied by patients with other conditions and 19 were unoccupied.

Hospital bed capacity across Northern Ireland currently stands at 95 per cent.

Covid infections drop in England but level off in Scotland and Northern Ireland

The number of people infected with coronavirus continues to fall across England, but appears to be levelling off in Northern Ireland and Scotland - writes Jane Kirby and Joe Gammie, PA.

New estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that around one in 270 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between February 28 and March 6 – the equivalent of 200,600 people.

This is down from around one in 220, or 248,100 people, for the period February 21 to 27.

It is the lowest figure since the week to September 24 when the estimate stood at one in 470, or 116,600 people.

However, the number of people infected in England is still high when compared to last summer. In the week to August 25 around one in 2,000 people had coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the latest data for Wales shows around one in 365 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 between February 28 and March 6 – down from one in 285 the week before.

In Northern Ireland, around one in 310 people were infected, up from one in 325.

The estimate for Scotland was around one in 320 people, up from one in 335 the previous week.

The ONS said the percentage of people testing positive has decreased in a majority of regions in England but there were “early signs of a possible increase … in the South East and South West.”

Sarah Crofts, senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “We are seeing a mixed picture across the UK this week.

“Infection levels in England and Wales have continued to decrease in the week ending March 6 but appear to be levelling off in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“It’s reassuring to see infection levels in the majority of English regions also continuing to decrease – however, it’s important for us to remain cautious and closely monitor those regions that are not showing a clear decrease.

“These are in the south of England, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands.”

In England the estimates for the latest six-week period are based on 529,020 swab tests.

It comes after data on Thursday showed more than 23 million people have now had their first dose of a vaccine.

Edwin Poots announces opening of £4m Covid-19 Support Scheme for Pig and Poultry Producers

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced the opening of a £4million Covid-19 Support Scheme for eligible pig and poultry producers from Monday 15 March.

Speaking about the scheme opening, Minister Poots said: “I am very pleased to report that £4m of support is being made available to pig and poultry producers who saw their income fall last year due to the impact of Covid-19.”

Minister Poots continued: “Last year I met with representatives of pig farmers who incurred financial loss when the processing plant they supplied was temporarily closed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 within the workforce. This financial support will address the effects of the temporary loss of the lucrative Chinese export market, additional penalties on overweight and overfat pigs, and the price impact of alternative pig marketing arrangements.”

The Minister went on to say: “I also met with representatives of poultry farmers producing parent stock and hatching eggs for Moy Park Ltd, and recognised the financial impact that falling demand for hatching eggs, particularly in international markets and interdependencies within the supply chain, had on the local industry. This support will address the financial impact of depleting laying flocks earlier than normal, and the cash flow consequences of longer intercrop periods for both rearing and laying farms.”

Eligible farm businesses in the pig and poultry sectors will receive a letter inviting them to apply for the support package, with instructions on how to access the application form and receive help to complete it. They must complete the application form available on DAERA Online Services from Monday 15 March to Wednesday 24 March 2021. Explanatory information and guidance will also be published on the DAERA website from Monday.

The Minister added: “I am very pleased that over £19m has already been paid out by DAERA to local farm businesses impacted by the pandemic and this financial support has been very helpful in these difficult times.”

Further information on the scheme can be found on the DAERA website www.daera-ni.gov.uk  from Monday 15 March.

Confirmed case of Covid-19 in NI primary school

A primary school in Northern Ireland has confirmed at least one positive case of Covid-19 has been detected only days after it opened for the first time since before Christmas.

The Principal of St. John the Baptist Primary School, Portadown, wrote to parents on Thursday informing them of the confirmed case of the virus.

“I wish to inform you that a member of our school community has tested positive for Covid-19,” confirmed Principal Catherine McCooe.

“I have sought the most up-to-date advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the pupils and staff that are affected have been notified and advised separately by the PHA.

“I do appreciate the concerns of parents, pupils and the wider school community and wish to reassure you that every precaution has been taken.”

Pre-school, nursery, primary one, primary two and primary three children returned to the classroom on Monday however the Executive is yet to announce when the remaining four primary school cohorts can return.

The Executive has said it will provide an update on schools returning on Tuesday.

Page 1 of 1