Outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools dropped to five last week – down significantly from before the Easter holidays.

Outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools dropped to five last week down significantly from before the Easter holidays.
The week before classes broke up for the Easter holidays saw 44 outbreaks in schools.
The latest figures will come as a relief and follow fears that cases would surge again as an additional 253,618 first- to fourth-year pupils returned to school for the first time since lockdown.
In the first week classes were back, there were 14 outbreaks.
Overall there were 151 family outbreaks, a fall of 38 compared with the previous week.
Workplaces had 16 outbreaks  an increase of one, including seven in the commercial sector, three in construction and three in the food industry.
There were no outbreaks in meat plants.
One nursing home had an outbreak, with two positive cases, and five outbreaks were reported in hospitals.
Among at-risk communities there were 14 outbreaks, 10 of which were among Travellers, with a small number spread among the homeless and Roma groups.
The improving picture comes as 15 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported yesterday, two of which happened earlier this month.
A further 401 people were diagnosed with the virus, indicating that there is still a high level of infection in the community  although it is stable.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital has fallen to 182, with 47 in intensive care. There were an additional 19 people hospitalised over the previous 24 hours.
Yesterdays cases included 182 in Dublin, 40 in Kildare, 31 in Donegal, 23 in Limerick, and 22 in Cork, with the remaining 103 cases spread across 17 other counties.
Meanwhile, a new study has found Covid-19 could pass into peoples lungs from saliva, with the virus moving directly from the mouth to the bloodstream particularly if individuals are suffering from gum disease.
Evidence shows that blood vessels of the lungs, rather than airways, are affected initially in Covid-19 lung disease, with high concentrations of the virus in saliva and periodontitis associated with increased risk of death.
The researchers proposed that dental plaque accumulation and periodontal inflammation further intensify the likelihood of the virus reaching the lungs and causing more severe cases of theinfection.
Experts said this discovery could make effective oral healthcare a potentially lifesaving action recommending that the public take simple, but effective, daily steps to maintain oral hygiene and reduce factors contributing to gum disease, such as the build-up of plaque.
An international team of researchers from the UK, South Africa and the United States published the research in the Journal of Oral Medicine and Dental Research.
They also noted emerging evidence that specific ingredients of some cheap and widely available mouthwash products are highly effective at inactivating the virus.
Simple oral hygiene measures, including use of these specific mouthwash products, could help lower the risk of transmission of the virus from the mouth to the lungs in those with Covid-19, and help prevent severe instances of infection.
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland
Irish Independent