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A Less Invasive COVID-19 Nasal Test Is Now Available For Children

Children will now be given a nasal swab – in lieu of a nasopharyngeal test – following a series of discussions and recommendations by NPHET.

A less invasive method of COVID-19 nasal swab testing will be implemented for children from now on, public health officials have confirmed. 

Prior to this, the method used to test children for coronavirus has been the same one used for adults; a nasopharyngeal test, which takes a sample from inside the back of your throat and nose via a swab.

This method has been widely reported as uncomfortable and even painful, with most agreeing that a less traumatic procedure should be put in place for children. 

However, following discussions and a subsequent recommendation from NPHET, it was suggested that children will now be given a nasal swab, as first reported by The Journal. 

“It has been agreed that nasal swabs are an acceptable alternative to nasopharyngeal swab for use in children in the community," said Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn.

“This will hopefully make testing a simpler process for children going forward.”

Dr Glynn continued by saying that the recommendation was made as “COVID-19 is an evolving pandemic and NPHET is committed to adapting advice and guidelines based on emerging evidence”.

The shift in test method comes as classes in two separate Dublin primary schools were sent home for a fortnight following an undisclosed number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the school. 

The HSE subsequently advises parents to keep any child, as well as their siblings, home from school if they develop any symptoms of the disease.

The public health team also announced, that following the initial onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the number of days a person should self-isolate for has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days. 

“The period of self-isolation for a case of COVID-19 has changed to 10 days from onset of symptoms (or 10 days from date of a test if asymptomatic), the last five of which should be without fever," a statement from the Department of Health said.

“The period for restricting movements for those who are close contacts of a case, or who have travelled to Ireland from a country not on the green list has not changed and remains at 14 days. Guidance will be updated in the coming days to reflect this change.”

For more information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools, check the HSE's dedicated webpage here

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