HSE refuses to comment if secondary school pupils asked to do own contract tracing

The HSE has refused to comment on whether secondary school pupils who had tested positive for COVID-19 had been asked to do their own contact tracing.

Last week Mercy Mounthawk in Tralee issued a letter to students and their parents regarding two confirmed cases in the school.

The letter advised that if students and parents had been contacted directly by the pupils who had contracted COVID-19 because they were close contacts, they must stay at home and contact their GP.

Mercy Mounthawk School in Tralee has not commented on the letter.

The HSE hasn’t commented on whether students who had contracted COVID-19 were asked to do their own contact tracing.

In an eight-paragraph response, it says it can’t comment on individual cases or outbreaks as to do so would breach its duty of confidentiality to those concerned which is not just an ethical but a legal requirement.

The lengthy response addresses the COVID-19 protocol in place for schools and says the HSE is aiming to have processes strengthened by the time schools return after the midterm break.

The HSE says teams of support people are being put in place across public health departments which will be a direct point of contact for schools and public health.

Last week, it emerged that 2,500 people who had tested positive over the weekend of October 17th and 18th had been asked to do their own contact tracing due to increased strain on the State system.