Outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools have skyrocketed in the Alicante province since the Christmas holidays. Since the beginning of January there have been 161 ‘outbreaks’ (described by officials as episodes of multiple contagion) in schools across the various Alicante municipalities, which have affected 745 people in total. Shockingly, almost all of these school outbreaks have taken place since 26th January, when they have become a daily occurrence.
The first outbreak was reported on 15th January in Orihuela, with four children infected. Another followed in Benissa with three on the 19th and, from there, the outbreaks were being reported almost daily. By 26th January 151 outbreaks had been reported. The situation has intensified throughout February, particularly recently: last week 75 outbreaks were reported, totalling 312 cases.
The avalanche of outbreaks in schools has gone hand in hand with the spread of the virus among the general population; it is therefore logical to a large extent that this escalation has occurred. However, it is cause for concern due to the scale of the outbreaks.
The day with the most outbreaks reported was 11th February when 21 episodes were identified in schools, with a total of 72 infections. This increase in outbreaks in school environments has led to most of the multiple infection outbreaks detected so far in February in the province of Alicante – 115 out of 208. On Wednesday there were 13 outbreaks of this type out of a total of 18, and on Friday 12th February the proportion was 17 out of 28 and it is believed that the Friday dip coincides with reduced social interaction due to municipal border closures.
The drastic increase in infections in schools has so far not changed the protocol set out by Health and Education authorities. Classes continue to be provided normally, even in those towns and villages where incidence of the virus has reached the highest level in the province.
According to the figures available at the time of going to print, in the Alicante province there are 279 school classes or groups currently in isolation, 1.7 percent of the total. There are 2,748 students with a positive test result and 2.2 percent of the school population is in preventive isolation. There are also 446 positive cases among teachers.