University of Limerick to introduce Covid-19 testing for students as cases rise 1 year ago

University of Limerick to introduce Covid-19 testing for students as cases rise

"Outbreaks arising out of household transmission is starting to become a worrying trend across the Mid-West."

The University of Limerick has announced it will facilitate Covid-19 testing on campus for students to prevent further transmission among the student population.

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This comes following a spike in cases in the Castletroy area of Limerick, believed to be associated with the student population living in off-campus accommodation.

The testing will be done in conjunction between the HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare and the University of Limerick.

UL President Professor Kerstin Mey has urged students to understand their own individual roles in keeping our communities safe and to be aware of the consequences of breaking current government Covid-19 restrictions.

“As a result of constant engagement and close ties between UL and Public Health Mid-West we are in a position to act very swiftly now at the first signs of a possible increase of cases among students living off campus,” said Mey.

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“We have reduced on campus activity to approximately 2% of what would normally take place so there are barely any students or staff on campus under Level 5 restrictions. Where we can put any further measure in place to protect our own and the surrounding communities we will do so."

The Department of Public Health Mid West said it had seen some evidence in recent weeks of an increase in cases among students largely caused by simple house visits.

“The student population is unique insofar that they can often live with a number of housemates in large households," Dr Marie Casey, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said.

"Some students have part-time jobs, and many will go home on the weekends to visit family and friends. With the onset of the dominant UK Covid-19 variant, which is more transmissible than the original strain, there is now a high level of risk of transmission in the student community.

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“Because many young people will carry the virus without any symptoms, this presents an increased risk of infection to household, workplace and family contacts. Outbreaks arising out of household transmission is starting to become a worrying trend across the Mid-West, at a crucial time when we need to suppress the virus’ spread in the community.

“We are urging everyone in the region to avoid household visits and social gatherings of any kind, as we have seen far too many times how a single episode of social contact has led to serious illness and death."