Please note that we have been advised by the HSE of some changes to their assessment testing and management pathway documents.

The changes are:

  • The self-isolation period for cases of COVID-19 has now changed from 14 days to a minimum of 10 days, the last 5 of which should be free of fever

  • Nasal swabs are now listed as an acceptable specimen type for use when testing children

  • For the households of all patients (adults and children) with symptoms who are being tested for COVID-19,  the whole household must restrict movements until the results of the test are know

  • For those aged over 13 years who have some respiratory tract infection symptoms but who but do not fit the criteria for testing for COVID-19,  patients are now advised to stay at home and self-isolate for a minimum of 48 hours from the resolution of   symptoms. (This is a reduction from the 14 days in the previous version)

  • If a child with COVID-19 cannot be isolated at home and there is an ongoing exposure risk, household contacts should restrict movements for 17 days from the onset of symptoms in the case (or date of test if the confirmed case was asymptomatic).

The updated pathways are in links below, and are also available on the HPSC website at

COVID-19 Assessment and testing pathway for children v2.0

COVID-19 Management of contacts of cases in the school setting_v2.0

COVID-19 Telephone Assessment and testing pathway for patients who phone GP v12.0

Guidance for the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) sector will be amended, as required, to reflect the changes outlined above.

Please also be aware that the Department continues to engage with the HSE and the Department of Education and Skills to ensure that the approaches to management of Covid-19 in the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) sector are aligned to that of the schools. There is currently no automatic rapid testing in place for either sector. Local public health departments will decide on a case by case basis how testing should be conducted.