Since the start of 2021, 106,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out in the 0-18 year-olds as part of the lateral flow testing programme for schools, with “very small numbers” of positive cases.
Some 100 young people have been found to be positive with the virus, with 105,900 negative tests. However, health bosses have said rates have increased in children since returning to school on March 8, as well as more testing being carried out.
In the seven days up to March 8, the positivity rate among 4-16 year-olds was just under 50 per 100,000 (53 positives). In the week up to March 23, the infection rate was 130 per 100,000 (143 positives) – nearly three times higher.
Professor Derek Ward, director for public health at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “It’s not huge numbers, and we knew it would see an increase in rates and cases.
“Obviously that’s offset by the fact that children are back at school, learning in a much better environment, mixing with their friends, all the benefits that all of that brings.”
He added: “In the week up to March 18, we did about 70,000 lateral flow tests in school settings with a 0.1% positivity rate. So very small numbers.”
“The benefits of schools being open far outweigh the risks.”
From the seven days until March 23, 128,000 tests were carried out in Lincolnshire overall. This includes both PCR and lateral flow tests – with 630 positives.
Professor Ward said: “At the moment, every seven days, we’re seeing anywhere between 550 and 800 positive cases, so we’re into the hundreds, not the thousands.”
Across the asymptomatic test sites in Lincolnshire, 32,000 tests have been carried out so far with 385 positives — around a 1.2% positivity rate.