Covid cases among children are driving infection rates up across Renfrewshire.
A Renfrewshire Council report shared with the Express states an investigation into higher than average covid cases in the local authority area has found the virus was particularly prevalent in those aged 11 to 17.
It is, the report suggests, especially strong among those in the lower end of this age bracket, the 11 to 14 year olds.
The news comes before children in this age group return to school full time on April 19 when the requirement to remain two metres apart from others will be removed.
The number of cases means Renfrewshire has jumped into second place in the list of areas worst affected by the virus.
The area yesterday recorded an infection rate of 88 per 100,000 following weeks of fluctuating case numbers.
And in the past seven days, 3.2 per cent of people tested in Renfrewshire have returned a positive result – above the Scottish average of 2.1 per cent.
In a report shared with councillors yesterday, council officials said: “In recent weeks an analysis of cases in Renfrewshire has been undertaken working with the public health protection unit in Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board to try and understand what is leading to the higher numbers of cases being recorded in Renfrewshire.
“This analysis showed that cases among the 11 to 17 years old age group were above the numbers experienced in other areas – particularly at the lower age range within this group, suggesting that the number of cases being picked up through the rigorous schools test and trace programme in Renfrewshire was a contributory factor in picking up on the ongoing community transmission.”
The report suggests that the effectiveness of the test and trace scheme locally is identifying all close contacts of infected youngsters while the new policy to test everyone named as a close contact has also resulted in a higher number of positive cases among asymptomatic close contacts being identified than was previously the case.
The report adds: “There is also further evidence that additional contacts and tests undertaken within the family and community groups associated with these cases has identified and recorded some of the wider community transmission related to the cases picked up through the rigorous schools test and trace programme.”
The most recent analysis of neighbourhood infections in the past week shows Renfrew West has the highest rate of infection in Renfrewshire with 306 cases per 100,000.
Gallowhill and Hillington, Paisley North and Johnstone South West have all continued to see a higher than average number of cases for the past fortnight.
A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The latest statistics from Public Health show that Renfrewshire is largely in line with other council areas across Scotland.
“While there has been a small increase in positive cases among older primary pupils, cases have already dropped back down again and cases across Renfrewshire continue to fluctuate day-by-day.
“Schools have robust safety measures in place, such as ventilation, physical distancing between adults and pupils and wearing face coverings, and NHS Public Health and the council’s environmental health team continue to be satisfied with these
“Parents and carers can support young people by encouraging them to follow the FACTS guidance – wear a face covering, avoid crowded areas, clean hands and surfaces often, keep two-metres physical distance from adults and, where possible, other young people, and to self-isolate and book a test if they develop