COVID-19 in Victorian schools and childcare mainly driven by community transmission, analysis finds 

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COVID-19 cases in schools and childcare are mostly driven by community transmission and off-site learning should be a last resort, according to a new report.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) prepared a COVID-19 in Victorian Schools Report at the request of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Education and Training (DET). The report recommends reopening schools and daycare as soon as community coronavirus transmission drops and remains low.

Professor Fiona Russell, who led the MCRI analysis team, said: “For the past three months, COVID-19 outbreaks have been far more likely in school and childcare in areas also with high community levels, suggesting the spread of COVID -19 is broadcast in schools by the community The best strategy to support school opening before developing a vaccine or treatment is to suppress COVID-19. “

The report analyzed DHHS and DET data, including reported COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in all early childhood as well as primary and secondary educational institutions in Victoria from January 25 to August 31.

School-related cases accounted for eight percent of all cases in Victoria. Of nearly one million Victorian high school students, 337 students (0.03 percent) may have acquired COVID-19 from a school outbreak.

113 known events (in one or more cases) were identified in childcare, with 234 cases potentially acquiring COVID-19 via childcare-related events.

Of 373 students and 139 staff members who may have been infected from childcare or a school breakout, four students and four staff members were hospitalized and all subsequently recovered.

The report’s senior co-author, MCRI Professor Sharon Goldfeld, said, “Childcare and schools not only play a critical role in providing education, but they also provide critical support, especially for the most vulnerable students, making them one Priority for opening up and making openness is making school closings a last resort, especially for childcare and elementary school children, as cases in this age group are less likely to be transmitted and associated with an outbreak. ”

Although the report was unable to determine the direction of transmission, the authors assume that term 4 will capture this data as further outbreaks occur.

The report also included detailed plans to prevent possible outbreaks after the gradual relaxation of lockdown restrictions, which would follow a traffic light system. These plans draw on experience from international settings to reduce everyday disruption as much as possible while ensuring that teachers, students and the general public are as safe as possible.

Main results:

  • Of one million students enrolled, 337 (0.03 percent) had a school breakout-related infection
  • 113 known events (with one or more cases) in childcare, with 234 cases potentially acquiring COVID-19 via childcare-related events.
  • Out of a total of 19,901 infections in Victoria, 1,635 infections were in some way related to childcare and schools. School-related cases made up eight percent of all infections in Victoria
  • Testing, tracking, and quarantining within 48 hours of being notified is the primary strategy to prevent an outbreak. In Victoria, the average time between the confirmation of the first case in childcare or school and the closure of the education provider was two days. This timely response prevented outbreaks from occurring, as 66 percent of outbreaks in schools involved a single infection in a staff member or student and 91 percent affected fewer than 10 cases
  • Of 139 infected employees and 373 infected students who may have acquired COVID through childcare or school outbreak, eight (four employees and four students) were hospitalized and all recovered
  • Infections in childcare and schools have rarely been linked to infections in the most vulnerable population, the elderly
  • If the first case was a child aged 0-5, an outbreak (two or more cases) was very rare

Yes, schools are closed, but the evidence still shows that children are unlikely to catch or spread coronavirus

More information:
COVID-19 in Victorian Schools Report: www.mcri.edu.au/sites/default/… 25sept_execsum_1.pdf Provided by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Quote: COVID-19 in Victorian Schools and Childcare Primarily Due to Community Transmission, Analysis Results (2020, Sep 28), accessed on Sep 28, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-covid- victorian-schools-childcare- driven.html

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