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virus spread HSE investigates after 20 Covid-19 cases confirmed in outbreak at Offaly crèche

It comes as the number of daily cases of the virus nationally rose to 769 yesterday, the highest in three weeks.

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(Stock Image)

(Stock Image)

(Stock Image)

Two crèches have been hit with Covid-19 outbreaks, one affecting 12 children and eight staff, it was confirmed today.

The crèche with the largest outbreak, located in Tullamore in Co Offaly, is working with HSE public health staff who are investigating the spread.

Separately, another crèche in north Dublin is dealing with several cases of the virus.

Parents of children in the Dublin crèche said it would continue to operate for children who were not close contacts.

It comes as the number of daily cases of the virus nationally rose to 769 yesterday, the highest in three weeks.

The more infectious UK strain of the virus is being blamed for contributing to the spread.

Elaine Dunne, Chairperson and founder of The Federation of Early Childhood Providers, and Denise McCormilla, CEO of the National Childhood Network said they have been in touch with the Tullamore crèche owner.

The "owner is unsurprisingly, distressed,” they said.

The outbreak happened "despite following all guidance in relation to mask wearing, hand hygiene, containing children within pods, and limiting access to parents and others."

The "the virus has spread rapidly in this childcare facility in the county currently with the highest national incidence of the virus."

The reiterated that childcare providers need better protection and more practical support and guidance.

This includes “high priority for vaccinations, as essential service providers for essential workers."

They also called for “subsidised weekly antigen testing in childcare facilities, to protect children and staff.”

And there should be additional PPE grant-aid.

They said that many crèches and childcare facilities are now back to around 90pc occupancy and workers are worried about the spread of new variants of the Covid-19 virus.

"Childcare workers meet the needs of children and families, so that wider services in society, like healthcare, can be provided and the economy can reopen,” they continued.

"There is exceptional difficulty in preventing virus transmission when working with young children.

"They do not do social distancing – they pull at masks and seek hugs and comfort – that is the nature of the work.

"Vulnerable people work in the childcare sector, including pregnant women and some with underlying health conditions, or they live with a family member that has underlying issues. They need to be protected while providing an essential service."


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