Kids' role in spreading new Covid variants sill unclear: Outbreak Team
What role young children play in spreading the new variants of the coronavirus is still unclear, according to the Outbreak Management Team (OMT). An investigation into the outbreak of the B117 variant of the coronavirus at a primary school in Bergschenhoek has not yet been completed, but the results should be available in the course of next week, the OMT said in advice to the government, which broadcaster NOS has in its possession.
The government and OMT hope that the Bergschenhoek study will answer the question of whether children play a bigger role in spreading the B117 variant than they do in spreading the original coronavirus. The results of this study will be a determining factor in whether or not primary schools can reopen on February 8. The government wants to make that decision by Tuesday next week.
In its advice, the OMT also said that source and contact tracing after someone tests positive for Covid-19 needs to be expanded. Currently only the patient's housemates and people they were in close contact with for longer than 15 minutes at a stretch are warned. With the more contagious variants of the coronavirus also popping up in the Netherlands, the team of experts also wants to warn people who had a total of 15 minutes or more contact with the patient, even if it was not all at once but spread over 24 hours. People who maintained social distancing of 1.5 meters, but had 15 minutes or more contact with the patient also needs to be notified.
The current advice is for Covid-19 contacts to quarantine. But the OMT wants to change that so that housemates and close contacts are tested as quickly as possible. If they test positive, quarantine will switch to complete isolation. If they test negative, they must quarantine and be tested again after 5 days to be completely sure they don't have the virus.
The OMT advised a "visitor bubble" for residents of nursing homes. In such a bubble, nursing home residents are still allowed one visitor per day, but can have up to three regular visitors instead of only one. In this way, visitation is not limited too much for the residents and the risk of bringing the coronavirus into the nursing home is still small, according to the OMT.