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.

Covid-19 checklist

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:

  • Where there is a case in your service, the HSE will call you about the case (if they were infectious while in the setting) and will undertake contact tracing. If you are concerned that you have not heard from public health, call the HSE public health dedicated helpline for ELC/SAC services – 01-5119777
  • Following the call with public health, you will receive an email summarising the details and recommendations of who are designated close contacts. You will be required at this point to advise close contacts (parents of close contacts) that they need to restrict their movements and that they should await a call from the HSE who will provide further details, including in relation to testing.
  • The email from public health to you will include suggested text to share with parents/staff identified as close contacts, and will include the Day 10 test date that parents/staff will now need to know. This will be asked of parents when the HSE rings the parent to get further contact details and to book the test.
  • The email will also include some further information on important measures and messages which you may need to re-enforce within your service. There will also be an accompanying information sheet to send to families, attached to the email from public health.
  • Finally, the email will advise you that a separate email will issue from the HSE Central Admin Team with a much simplified attached Excel template and instructions for completion and return. Please complete the template that you receive from the Central Admin Team and return as per instructions. If there are concerns that you have not received an email from the HSE Central Administration Team with the excel sheet attached they can be contacted directly on and 021 4819351.
  • The HSE will ring the staff members/parents to take further details and book test dates.
  • Of note; Staff who are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms of Covid-19 or those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the last nine months may be advised immediately that they are not required to restrict their movements until the HSE contacts them. Public Health teams are experiencing a high volume of activity at the moment but all calls are being responded to and all services that require one are having a PHRA conducted.

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.

Close contacts

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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