Covid-19 investigation as four Coatbridge pupils test positive

Two of the pupils had attended school for a short period of time on Thursday.

Covid-19 investigation as four Coatbridge pupils test positive Getty Images

Four North Lanarkshire school pupils have tested positive for coronavirus, with a fifth confirmed case also linked.

An NHS investigation has been launched after the pupils, three from St Ambrose and one from St Andrews, both in Coatbridge, were confirmed to have the virus.

Two of the pupils, one at St Ambrose and one at St Andrews, attended school for a short while this week but had limited contact with fellow students.

A fifth case linked to these has also been identified but is not a school pupil.

All the cases are self-isolating at home along with immediate family.

NHS Lanarkshire Test and Protect has traced other close contacts who are also self-isolating.

NHS Lanarkshire director of public health Gabe Docherty said: “The first pupil at St Ambrose tested positive on August 13, after displaying mild symptoms since August 11.

“A second pupil, a close contact of the first outside of the school, also tested positive yesterday. Neither attended the school at all.

“The third pupil at St Ambrose, a close contact of the other two outside of the school, tested positive this morning (August 14) and was present at school for around 20 minutes yesterday (August 13).

“This pupil had limited contact with any other pupils while in school for this period. The pupil was immediately isolated and was taken home to self-isolate for 14 days.

“The pupil at St Andrew’s tested positive this morning (August 14) and had attended school for a relatively short period of time yesterday, with limited contact with a defined number of individuals, therefore the risk to other pupils and staff has been assessed as being very low.

“No case has serious illness.

“NHS Lanarkshire is working closely with North Lanarkshire Council with regard to these cases and has promptly identified close contacts of both cases. Public health advice is being given to these individuals and they are being told to self-isolate.

“Our test and protect service will continue to contact anyone who may be affected and following the findings of a review this afternoon, the risk to the wider school community is low.

“The Incident Management Team continues to meet daily and robust contact tracing continues.”

NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health medicine Dr Jennifer Darnborough said: “The team is investigating any potential links to the wider community which is impacting on schools.

“There is evidence that mixing socially in the community without maintaining physical distancing measures can transmit the virus. It should be noted that given the current picture, there is no evidence presently to suggest that there is transmission in schools but people are asked to remain vigilant and practise physical distancing guidance.

“We are aware that there will still be concern among both children and their parents at this time. I can reassure them that all settings which these individuals have attended during their infectious period are being identified and assessed.

“We want to take this opportunity to remind people that good hand hygiene is essential to combat transmission of the virus and children and staff should wash their hands thoroughly and regularly using soap and water for 20 seconds.

“Individuals should stay off school or work and get tested if they experience any COVID symptoms, such a cough, fever or loss of taste or smell, even if they are mild. Information on how to access testing is available from NHS Inform.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are aware that a small number of pupils from two schools in Coatbridge tested positive for COVID-19. NHS Lanarkshire have made clear that there is no evidence currently to suggest that there is transmission in schools and NHS Lanarkshire is currently carrying out a community-wide investigation.

“NHS Lanarkshire is also taking appropriate steps by writing to the school’s parents to offer reassurance and detail measures it is taking to deal with these cases.”

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