'It's a very worrying time': Three children test positive for Covid-19 at creche

'It's a very worrying time': Three children test positive for Covid-19 at creche
Three children have tested positive for Covid-19 at the creche in Meath. Picture: Daoine Oga Community Childcare Centre in Navan.

Three children have now tested positive for Covid-19 at a Meath creche, bringing the total number of cases at the facility to five.

The children, who are siblings, were confirmed with the virus on Sunday night. Two staff members at the Daoine Oga Community Childcare Centre in Navan tested positive last week.

A third room at the creche has now been closed and all parents of children in the remaining open units have been informed.

A total of eleven children have been tested so far after the two adult cases were diagnosed. Eight results were returned negative.

However, some pre-school children in another pod at the creche are still waiting for results, leading to concern for parents.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Eddie Fennessy only got a test for his two-year-old son Ned, who has an underlying health issue, on Monday morning.

"We were told immediately last week by the creche that a member of staff had tested positive for Covid-19 and that Ned's room would be closed for 14 days, and his details were given to contact tracing who would be in touch with us," he said. 

"We have been self-isolating ever since. Last Friday, parents participated in a Zoom meeting with creche management, who reassured us that protocol was followed and they have done everything possible to keep us updated."

He was contacted on Sunday afternoon and told the test was arranged for Monday, he said.

"By the time Ned receives his results, almost seven days will have passed and he was in direct contact with one of the staff members who tested positive.

"It's a very worrying time for myself and Ned's mother as he has an underlying condition and has attended Temple Street and Drogheda hospitals since birth."

Mr Fennessy said he is concerned about the potential for further transmission and said a week is far too long to wait for a test after being in contact with someone who has tested positive. He said faster action is needed to identify and isolate infections.

"The quicker we engage in that process, the easier it will be to manage localised outbreaks," he said.

"Every child who came into contact with an infected staff member should have been tested the day after the first confirmed case."

CEO of Daoine Oga Creche say staff and children of the centre are being tested 

CEO of the creche Marie Daly confirmed on Monday morning that three siblings had tested positive with Covid-19.

"I have closed another room at the facility and the parents of children in all other rooms which remain open have been informed of developments," she said.

"We have followed all guidelines and advice given to us from all the relevant bodies.

"Eleven children have been tested so far and three siblings have proved positive for Covid-19. None of them are showing any symptoms of the virus.

"The results of seven staff have been returned as negative and there are about seven children to be tested in the coming days."

Children at the facility have been split into pods of up to eight with two staff members in each as part of Covid-19 response measures. The preschool invested €10,000 in PPE and other protective measures at the facility.

Two rooms were closed immediately after one member of staff tested postive last week. Another staff member, tested as a precaution in another room, was also positive. Neither of the staff had been in contact with the creche in or outside work.

The second room had been closed due to staff member who had been 'floating' between two pods in the two rooms.

The third room was closed on Monday due to the latest developments.

In a statement, the HSE said it cannot comment on individual cases or outbreaks due to GDPR. 

"In general, when our Departments of Public Health respond to notified cases or outbreaks of Covid-19, they undertake a risk assessment of the situation and appropriate investigations are undertaken and control measures put in place," they said.

"If Public Health determines there is an outbreak, an outbreak control team is convened. It would then advise on control measures, which would include raising awareness of Covid-19, communicating to staff about infection prevention measures, social distancing in the workplace, and use of personal protective equipment.

"There is no delay in GP referred cases for testing."

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