18 schools in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area have sought support from the Education Authority (EA) with coronavirus cases during the first week of the new school term.

A spokesperson for the EA said: “In the period of August 30 to September 7, 18 schools in the Council area contacted the EA’s Confirmed Cases helpline to clarify queries they have had, or to request support with the management of a confirmed case of Covid-19.”

When asked by The Impartial Reporter how many students in the district were isolating, a spokesperson for the EA said: “The EA does not hold data on the number of students who are currently isolating as this is health information that will need to be requested from the PHA.

“The EA collates information on the number of schools that have requested support through the EA Covid-19 Helpline with queries around Covid or support with the management of confirmed cases of Covid in their school community.”

This concern surrounding coronavirus cases is not unique to Fermanagh and Omagh, and has led to the Northern Ireland Assembly being recalled.

Proposals to tackle concerns over the number of students who are absent from school due to coronavirus are to be discussed with stakeholders this week, according to Education Minister Michelle McIlveen

It comes after the Stormont Assembly was recalled over the issue, which saw large numbers of school absences because students are self-isolating as a result of being a close contact with a positive coronavirus case.

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said discussions are ongoing between her department and the Department of Health, with proposals to tackle the concern surrounding coronavirus cases in schools currently being finalised.

Elsewhere across the district there has been a rise in residents reporting to the testing centres with the Fermanagh and Omagh District in recent days.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) reveals that on Monday the largest number of individuals tests since the beginning of the pandemic were conducted in Fermanagh and Omagh testing centres with 1,110 individual lab tests conducted. The data does not break down how many of these were conducted at St. Angelo Airport or the walk-through facility at Lisanally Avenue Car Park respectively.

Furthermore the data from DOH does not break down whether these were first tests or routine PCR tests for day two or day eight close contacts.

Prior to the month of August, the highest number of individuals tested was on December 29, 2020 when 412 individuals were tested.

On July 1, there were 153 individuals tested, on August 1 there were 217, August 15 there were 451, and on September 1 there were 753 individuals tested

104 deaths have been recorded in the Fermanagh and Omagh District by the DOH since the Coronavirus pandemic with four of these deaths occurring in the past week alone.

84 new cases of the virus have been recorded in the district by the Department of Health in the past 24 hours.

In the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH), there currently 29 coronavirus patients in the hospital, with one patient currently in ICU.

The district has the second highest rate of infection per 100,00 people in Northern Ireland. The rate per 100,000 people is currently 696.8 in the district, according to Wednesday’s update from the Department of Health.

It means that in the past seven days in the district, there have been 818 positive cases of the virus. Out of those, 335 were in people aged 19 and under; 213 were between the ages of 20 and 39; 181 were between 40 and 59; 70 were between 60 and 79, and 19 cases were in people aged 80 and over. Breaking down positive cases by postal district in Fermanagh, between August 30 and September 5 there were 164 positive cases in the BT74 district; 137 in BT92; 68 in BT93, and 101 in BT94. There were a total of 470 positive cases in Fermanagh postcodes.

Across Northern Ireland, there are 454 Covid-19 patients, with 44 in ICU and 33 ventilated.