SCHOOL pupils' parents are being urged to keep testing them for Covid as infections among youngsters increase.

County Hall public health boss Dr Mike Gogarty says continuing to test children in the autumn half-term is vital to try keep coronavirus levels down.

Essex families are being urged to help minimise the disruption to their children’s education by testing for Covid-19 on a regular basis.

Schools can recommend additional tests if they suffer an outbreak.

Although case numbers in Essex are lower than the England average, infections among schoolchildren are rising.

The county council is advising primary schools to encourage children to get a PCR test if a classmate tests positive, even if they do not have symptoms.

Secondary school pupils are urged to take lateral flow tests twice a week to help identify any outbreaks and keep case numbers as low as possible.

Dr Gogarty said: “Since children returned to their classrooms in September, we’ve inevitably seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases amongst young people.

"This rise is being seen across the country and while rates are relatively low, we cannot ignore this increase.

"Therefore, it is essential everyone continues to be cautious and takes sensible steps, such as testing regularly.

“Testing is free, quick, easy, and is a key line of defence against the spread of Covid-19.

"This is why we’re working with schools to encourage the continuation of a robust testing regime amongst both primary and secondary school pupils.

“The more we can minimise the number of Covid-19 cases in schools, the less disruption there is to young people’s education and the greater effect on limiting the virus’ spread amongst the wider community.”

Pupils can continue to attend school whilst waiting for the results of a PCR test.

They only need to self-isolate if the test is positive, or if they develop Covid-19 symptoms – a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of smell or taste.

If an LFT result is positive, parents should order a confirmatory PCR test and the pupil should self-isolate while they wait for the result.

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