The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey, released yesterday, indicates that this is “the first time that we have seen statistical evidence of a difference in the past fortnight for the health sector. ‘education’.
According to the ONS analysis between September 20 and October 3, the estimated probability of an education worker testing positive for Covid was 0.39.
The ONS explains that this number, or coefficient, indicates the probability that an individual with a particular characteristic is positive for Covid.
Zero would indicate that there had been no increase or decrease in the likelihood of testing positive, while 0.39 suggests an increased likelihood of having Covid.
The ONS adds: “The higher likelihood for those working in education is likely related to the high levels of infection in school-aged children. “
In comparison, those working in the IT sector had an estimated probability of -0.48.
However, the ONS says the results should be “interpreted with caution until we have more data.”
“Sectors of work are self-declared and cover a wide variety of occupations; for example, someone working in the education sector could be a teacher in an elementary school or a chef in a college, ”the ONS report added.
The ONS also points out that those who perform lateral flow tests regularly are “more likely to be positive than those who do not, according to lateral flow tests performed by those who are otherwise at higher risk.”
Teachers are encouraged to do two home LFTs per week.
High school students’ positivity rates continue to rise
It is estimated that around one in 13 high school students tested positive for Covid last week.
The latest data from the ONS, released today, shows that the proportion of students in grades 7 to 11 estimated to have tested positive for Covid in the week ending October 16 has risen to 7.8%.It was previously reported that 8.1% of students in Grades 7 to 11 would have tested positive in the week ending October 9.
However, the ONS reported today that this “has been revised [down] to 7.1 percent based on additional test results received since publication. The current trend of increasing positivity is unchanged.
Since the start of the school year, the percentage of high school students testing positive for Covid has more than tripled, from only 2.5%.
Experts say the increased likelihood of teachers having Covid compared to other workers represents that, as most adults are now vaccinated, children are the “largest pool of susceptible hosts.”
Alasdair Munro, clinical researcher in pediatric infectious diseases, adding that this means that their “relative contribution to transmission is now much higher than before”.
As many Covid school restrictions have also been lifted, the absolute rate of transmission has also increased, he said.
Jenny Harries, England’s deputy chief medical officer, had previously said schools are not a ‘big driver’ of Covid in communities.