Schools again a hotbed for coronavirus immediately after summer break
Now that schools are open again throughout the country, they have immediately become an active place for the coronavirus to spread. Dozens of classrooms in various regions have been sent home since the start of the school year because of infections, the GGD municipal health regions told ANP.
The latest figures from the RIVM also confirm that education has again become a serious location of infection. One in eight coronavirus infections last week, 12.5 percent, was contracted at an education or childcare facility. That is based on all coronavirus cases in which the GGDs managed to trace the suspected source of infection. The number of infections rose sharply among children of primary school age.
In Utrecht, where children have completed their first week of school after the summer holidays, ten to fifteen school groups are being sent home every day because of positive tests, said a spokesperson for the GGD. The situation is similar in the Haaglanden region, which is also part of the Central region. This part of the country started the new school year last week on Monday. In The Hague and the surrounding area, 34 primary school classes were sent home in that first week, the local branch of the GGD said. That number should be viewed as a very rough estimate that can change, a spokesperson said. "This is a gray area. Not all schools may have reported it this way."
In Hollands Midden, which includes Leiden and the surrounding area, the GGD has so far counted infections in twenty schools. In total, students from 27 classes had to go into quarantine there. There are no large clusters there yet, a spokesperson for the local health service added.
The weekly report from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) shows that the number of coronavirus cases among children has risen sharply, while the total number of infections in the country has remained virtually the same compared to a week earlier. The increase is strongest in the age group of 5 to 9 years. In that category, 1,708 infections were reported last week, 56 percent more than a week earlier. In the group from 10 to 14 years of age, 2,075 children tested positive, an increase of 42 percent. Among the very youngest, aged 0 to 4 years, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 19 percent to 571.
Schools in the North region have been open for a week longer. Since then, approximately forty classes in primary education have been quarantined in the northern part of Noord-Holland. GGD Fryslân says that so far 383 infections have been reported there, spread over 107 schools in primary and secondary education and vocational schools.
"But the primary schools really stand out," said a spokesperson. In Drenthe, the number of clusters in primary and secondary schools increased from 3 to 21 last week.
Among adolescents aged 15 to 19, the number of infections actually decreased last week. The RIVM recorded 1,617 cases in this age group last week. That's a 19 percent drop from the previous week. An obvious explanation for the difference with younger children is that people are eligible for vaccination against Covid-19 from the age of 12.
Reporting by ANP