Providers please see below memo from the HSE, which notes some minor administrative adjustments to the PHRA process and updates on advice for close contacts. Please be advised that the overall process remains unchanged.
From time to time, changes may be made by the HSE to certain processes; this is often in an effort to improve efficiency during particularly busy periods or to address some changes to national guidance. The Department will endeavour to provide updates to services where necessary; however, where any doubt arises, services should continue to follow the advice and direction of local public health teams who are working with them in relation to cases in their service.
The Department has produced a Covid-19 checklist to remind ELC / SAC providers of the key steps to take if there is a suspected or a confirmed case of Covid-19 in their services. While the checklist is designed to be high level, useful links to further and more detailed information are also included. The checklist is available here.
Office of the Clinical Director of Health Protection, Health Service Executive
TO: All service providers
FROM: Dr Abigail Collins, Consultant in Public Health Medicine
Dr Kevin Kelleher, Assistant National Director for Public Health and Child Health
RE: HSE public health update
DATE: 16 September 2021
While many ELC / SAC services operated throughout the summer period, others are just recently returning. As such it is timely to remind all staff and service users of the key measures required to
keep services open and to reduce the risk of spread of infection.
Infection Prevention and Control
Please continue to follow all the public health measures in place in ELC and SAC. The exclusion of
anyone with new symptoms of Covid-19, the operation of play-pods, wearing of face coverings, social distancing wherever possible and good respiratory hygiene are still the best ways to prevent
the spread of Covid-19. Close application of these measures by ELC / SAC services has kept the number of cases and onward spread of infection low. Please ensure all staff, parents and children
are reminded of the importance of abiding by the national public health measures currently in place.
The Covid-19 Vaccine is now available to everyone over the age of 12. COVID-19 can be a mild or
severe illness, severe illness is much less common in those who are fully vaccinated. Vaccination is
the best way we have of preventing hospital admissions and more serious end point of the disease.
It also helps protect all others in our community. Therefore, we strongly recommend that all staff
are vaccinated as soon as they are able, and that this is supported and facilitated by service
The dedicated testing pathway for ELC / SAC services remains in place with Public Health Departments continuing to carry out Public Health Risk Assessments (PHRAs) with services. While
some minor administrative adjustments may be made to the PHRA process from time to time, the overall process remains unchanged at present.
One small difference services may note is a change to the format of the Excel template you are being asked to complete and a change to the manner in which this is provided to you. This should not
result in any delays to the PHRA process, but will involve a separate call to arrange testing.
An overview of the process is set out below for clarity:
HSE Testing centres are still operational but on an appointment basis. This is in an effort to reduce queues at test centres and delays for people being tested. It also facilitates better management and
grouping of results of close contacts in ELC / SAC services.
Please remind all staff and parents that if they / their child have been told by the HSE services that they are a close contact of a case of Covid-19 and that they need to restrict their movements at home they will be offered testing, as soon as possible after they have been identified and then at day 10. Once they are asymptomatic and have received their ‘not detected’ test result from day 10 test, they can stop restricting their movements and return.
However, if they are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms, they do not need to restrict their movements. The HSE will contact them and confirm this and state that they do not need to restrict their movements or undergo testing. In rare circumstances, the HSE may advise that they need to start restricting their movements and testing will be organised. It is important that anyone who is a close contact is very aware of their symptoms. Those individuals must self-isolate and undergo testing should they develop any symptoms.
Many thanks for your continued support and engagement in these difficult times
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