March 16, 2021 10.15 am This story is over 14 months old

Lincolnshire schools praised for COVID testing efforts as few infections detected

“Schools are experts at this now”

Just 0.1% of school asymptomatic COVID tests have come back positive in Lincolnshire, according to health bosses.

Lincolnshire County Council’s assistant director of public health Andy Fox said about 17,000 lateral flow tests had been carried among school children last week – meaning around 17 of those were COVID-positive.

The numbers are starting to feed into the national data, meaning case numbers could rise slightly — but infection rates are expected to vary in the weeks ahead as more people get vaccinated.

“Schools are experts at this now due to the system of controls the Department for Education has put in place to reduce transmission,” said Mr Fox.

“We will still see some cases, though I’m sure younger people will hopefully be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, and we might see some outbreaks and transmission in schools as we as we did last year.

“But the aim for asymptomatic testing, along with the excellent work that all the schools are doing, should give us a chance of minimising it.”

Some 95% of primary pupils attended Lincolnshire schools in the first week of March.

This compared to a quarter in February due to schools and colleges in England being closed except for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

Under the government’s roadmap, children returning to school need to be tested for transmission three times in the first couple of weeks and then twice a weekly after that, ramping up the number of tests being carried out.

Parents are also being tested at home, so other cases in the community may also be picked up by the schools.

“Every asymptomatic case you find is a win of some kind because you get that person to isolate and the risk of transmission drops, so it’s a positive step,” explained Mr Fox.