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Title: Individual prevention and containment measures in schools in Catalonia, Spain, and community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 after school re-opening
Author: Alonso Muñoz, Sergio
Català, Martí
López, Daniel
Álvarez Lacalle, Enrique
Jordan, Iolanda
García García, Juan José
Fumadó, Victoria
Muñoz Almagro, Carmen
Gratacós Freixas, Eduardo
Balanza, Núria
Varo, Rosauro
Millat, Pere
Baro, Bàrbara
Ajanovic, Sara
Arias, Sara
Claverol, Joana
Fernández de Sevilla, Mariona
Bonet Carné, Elisenda
Garcia Miquel, Aleix
Coma, Ermengol
Medina Peralta, Manuel
Fina, Francesc
Prats, Clara
Bassat Orellana, Quique
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2
Control d'infeccions
Infection control
Issue Date: Feb-2022
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Despite their clear lesser vulnerability to COVID-19, the extent by which children are susceptible to getting infected by SARS-CoV-2 and their capacity to transmit the infection to other people remains inadequately characterized. We aimed to evaluate the role of school reopening and the preventive strategies in place at schools in terms of overall risk for children and community transmission, by comparing transmission rates in children as detected by a COVID-19 surveillance platform in place in Catalonian Schools to the incidence at the community level. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Infections detected in Catalan schools during the entire first trimester of classes (September-December 2020) were analysed and compared with the ongoing community transmission and with the modelled predicted number of infections. There were 30.486 infections (2.12%) documented among the circa 1.5M pupils, with cases detected in 54.0% and 97.5% of the primary and secondary centres, respectively. During the entire first term, the proportion of 'bubble groups' (stable groups of children doing activities together) that were forced to undergo confinement ranged between 1 and 5%, with scarce evidence of substantial intraschool transmission in the form of chains of infections, and with ~75% of all detected infections not leading to secondary cases. Mathematical models were also used to evaluate the effect of different parameters related to the defined preventive strategies (size of the bubble group, number of days of confinement required by contacts of an index case). The effective reproduction number inside the bubble groups in schools (R*), defined as the average number of schoolmates infected by each primary case within the bubble, was calculated, yielding a value of 0.35 for primary schools and 0.55 for secondary schools, and compared with the outcomes of the mathematical model, implying decreased transmissibility for children in the context of the applied measures. Relative homogenized monthly cumulative incidence ([Formula: see text]) was assessed to compare the epidemiological dynamics among different age groups and this analysis suggested the limited impact of infections in school-aged children in the context of the overall community incidence. CONCLUSIONS: During the fall of 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 cases detected in Catalan schools closely mirrored the underlying community transmission from the neighbourhoods where they were set and maintaining schools open appeared to be safe irrespective of underlying community transmission. Preventive measures in place in those schools appeared to be working for the early detection and rapid containment of transmission and should be maintained for the adequate and safe functioning of normal academic and face-to-face school activities.
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It is part of: PLoS One, 2022, vol. 17, num. 2, p. e0263741
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ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (ISGlobal)
Articles publicats en revistes (BCNatal Fetal Medicine Research Center)
Articles publicats en revistes (IDIBAPS: Institut d'investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer)
Articles publicats en revistes (Cirurgia i Especialitats Medicoquirúrgiques)

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