PHA update on Kilkeel testing following further Covid-19 outbreak in Kilkeel.
Following the identification of a small number of probable cases of the Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02, first detected in India) in the Kilkeel area, the Public Health Agency (PHA) started asymptomatic testing on Saturday of people in targeted neighbourhoods within the area said a PHA spokesperson.
“This action has been taken in advance of confirmation of whether a variant is present so that we can identify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases early and reduce the risk of spread in the community.
“All households identified for testing have been contacted and three Mobile Testing Units will remain in Kilkeel to accommodate testing of anyone over the age of 5 from within the identified areas who has yet to be tested.
“A total of just over 1,000 tests were carried out over the weekend and 15 positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected.
“All positive cases have been contacted and advised to self-isolate in line with public health guidance. Robust contact tracing has taken place to identify their contacts and ask them to self-isolate and get tested.
“The PHA is now working with partners to place an additional Mobile Testing Unit at Kilkeel High School to test all pupils and staff as a precautionary measure as a number of positive COVID-19 cases have been linked to the school.”
School Principal of Kilkeel High School, Mr Coert, said that it was a “fluid situation” and that he did not have the authority to close the school for the summer at this stage. He added: “I wish to inform you that two people connected to our school community have tested positive for Covid-19.
“I have sought the most up-to-date advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) and individuals affected by these cases have already been notified. I do appreciate the concerns of parents, pupils and the wider community and wish to reassure you that every precaution has been taken.
“Ensuring the safety of pupils and staff is my absolute priority. Parents with any questions or concerns are welcome to contact the school. School remains open but will be closed this week on Tuesday and Wednesday for a deep clean.”
Dr Bríd Farrell, Assistant Director of Service Development, Safety and Quality at the PHA, said: “The Public Health Agency wants to thank everyone who has come forward to date for testing. This testing is a precautionary measure to identify asymptomatic cases and help prevent community spread, the more people who come forward for testing the better chance we have of slowing the spread of the virus.
“All positive test results are now being assessed for a preliminary indication of whether a variant is present or not and then submitted for whole genome sequencing to confirm the type of variant. This process can take several days to complete.
“This is a timely reminder to everyone throughout Northern Ireland to continue to carry out all public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
- good hand and respiratory hygiene, ]
- keep your distance of two metres from others where possible,
- wear a face covering where necessary,
- keep rooms well ventilated,
- and if you’re offered the vaccine, book your appointment.
“Stopping the spread of the virus will help save lives.”
Mobile test unit locations for asymptomatic testing of those who have been invited:
- Kilkeel Leisure Centre, Mourne Esplanade, Kilkeel, Newry, BT34 4DBST.
- Colman’s Church, Massforth, 152 Newry Road, Kilkeel, BT34 4ET,
- Ballymartin GAC car park, Newcastle Road, BT34 4NX.