Coronavirus rates among young children have reached record levels in Greater Manchester

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Coronavirus rates among young children in Greater Manchester have reached record levels.

Infections among children aged five to nine are at an all-time high in seven of the region’s districts and are still on the rise.

While older age groups have seen a drop in cases, the rise among children, with rates also high among children ages 0-4, is now pushing overall infection rates back up.

Tameside has the highest rate among children aged five to nine, with 2,448.9 cases per week per 100,000 population (as of January 19). The second highest is Bolton, with a rate of 1,773.5 per 100,000.

The graph shows the increase in cases among children aged five to nine.

Last Monday, 682 cases were reported for that age group, the highest daily total reported during the pandemic.

The seven counties with record levels for ages five to nine are:

  • tameside 2448.9
  • Trafford 2107.7
  • Bolton 1773.5
  • Wigan 1760.2
  • Manchester 1726.0
  • Stockport 1657.5

  • Salford 1645.9

In Rochdale, Oldham and Bury the rates are very high in the same age group but slightly lower than the peak rates.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that across the UK, since January 15, the percentage of people who have tested positive has decreased in all age groups except those between 2 and 6 years old. school.

And it comes as school attendance figures released today (Tuesday) show that in England, one in eight pupils was absent last Thursday, and staffing problems are getting worse, with a quarter of schools with teacher absence rates and leaders above 15%.

While pediatricians do not report Omicron as a more severe or serious illness in children and young people in the UK, and it is reassuring that very few children and young people hospitalized with Omicron require pediatric intensive care, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says that ‘we cannot be complacent’.

Kings Road Primary Principal, Darren Morgan

And for many schools and families, it’s about the continued disruption of work and education.

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Darren Morgan, headmaster at Kings Road Primary School, in Stretford, Trafford, says the pandemic remains a challenge.

“We have almost 700 students in our school and we currently have 14 confirmed cases among children and four cases among staff,” he said.

“It has been very difficult to staff the school this period, overall we have had around 10 staff members, which on top of the pressures that come with it during normal times – these are at a time when there is a high level of liability after the closures of Ofsted and the government”.

While some measures have started to be eased, restrictions are still in place to try to curb transmission.

A one-way system is maintained, staff wear masks in common areas and even some students have opted to wear masks, the principal said.

Infections among children aged five to nine have reached record levels

Doors and windows are open to increase ventilation, which can sometimes mean children wear coats to keep warm.

Is Covid still causing disruptions at your child’s school? Are there many positive cases among students and staff? Do you think more needs to be done to improve ventilation? Let us know your views in the comments here.

The lack of air purifiers has been a sore spot for schools during the pandemic, especially as other countries have made them so readily available in classrooms.

In December, Iain Linsdell, principal at Poplar Primary School in Audenshaw, Tameside, said pupils resorted to working with their coats, gloves and scarves on because the only way to improve ventilation was to have the windows open.

He criticized the Department for Education for telling mainstream schools to order their own air purifiers, something that would cost him £10,000, because the government only funds air cleaning units in specialist or conventional SEND and alternative settings.

With schools still facing disruptions from positive cases, teacher unions and education leaders were a bit surprised by the Prime Minister’s announcement to scrap masks in secondary classrooms last week and in common areas from this Thursday.

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Many directors, with the backing of local public health directors, have decided to keep them in place, a move backed by union leaders. Tameside and Wigan are among the authorities recommending the wearing of masks in common and busy areas until the middle of the February term.

“The government’s unexpected announcement last week that face coverings are no longer recommended in classrooms, and from Thursday in common areas, reduced the defenses available to schools to control the spread of Covid 19,” Geoff said. Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and University Leaders.

“The contingency framework guidance remains that face coverings may be retained or reintroduced on the advice of local public health officials and the Department of Education at an individual school or local area if there is sufficient concern about rates of infection. Covid-19 infection in that area.

“While no one wants to see face coverings in schools any longer than necessary, it’s only right that this remains an option where public health officials believe it will help stop local outbreaks.”

Mr. Barton said that in light of the latest student and staff absenteeism figures, schools need more government support.

“The passing of the first two full weeks of the spring term has seen attendance deteriorate further in our schools, with even more students and staff out of the classroom,” he said.

Many schools have maintained measures

“Of particular concern is that almost one in 10 of our teaching staff is out of work. In addition to the impact on the affected staff themselves, this also poses significant issues for leaders trying to ensure that they can continue to deliver education to all students, even through the use of expensive and scarce staff. They need a lot more help from the government to cover the rising costs they face.”

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “In accordance with national guidance, the local authority and Tameside schools have continued to work together effectively to plan for and respond to cases of COVID-19 among staff and students in a manner that prioritizes the quality of education and support to which students and staff are entitled.

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“Although the overall number of cases has decreased in Tameside, it is still not low and has plateaued over the last week. Rates among children and youth continue to rise, many schools are experiencing significantly high levels of covid-related absences, and are also experiencing challenges with staff capacity as a result.

“Therefore, we strongly encourage the continued use of face coverings for all staff and adults in schools and high school students while in common or crowded indoor spaces through the February midterm, and particularly where our Team Public Health is working with schools that have those high cases. rates”.

The spokesperson added: “Many of our schools are experiencing active outbreaks and we will continue to support and agree to measures as always to minimize transmission and disruption to learning. The public health team continues to monitor the data on a daily basis.”

“There are also a number of other measures that schools have in place to reduce the risk of transmission and keep our children and youth safe, including; wash hands, ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas, participate in regular testing, be tested daily if in close contact with a confirmed case, self-isolate if necessary, and accept the offer of a vaccine or booster dose if eligible.

“The continued priority throughout the county is to keep our schools open in the safest way possible for staff and students.”

Many high schools still ask students and staff to wear masks in common areas

Helen Gollins, Acting Director of Public Health at Trafford Council, said: “The rates in our primary school children are higher than in other groups, however this is not unexpected.

“This age group has not been offered Covid-19 vaccination and the data is likely to be skewed by our targeted testing in primary schools that have severe outbreaks, as this often detects multiple cases in that age group.

“We are pleased to see that our rates are declining in our general population; however, we acknowledge that recent changes in national testing policy could explain some of the reduction.”



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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