VILNIUS – Lithuania has registered 42 coronavirus clusters in educational institutions since the start of September, with about 90 percent of them recorded in schools and the remaining ten percent in kindergartens, according to the National Public Health Center (NPHC).
A total of 126 infections are linked to the 42 clusters, with nine out of ten of them being primary cases where the virus was contracted by students or staff, based on the data as of Monday morning.
A total of 1,021 high-risk contacts linked to the clusters have been isolated. Another 230 individuals are thought to have had low-risk exposure.
According to the NPHC, COVID-19 clusters in most schools and kindergartens are small with just two to three cases.
Clusters have been registered in almost all Lithuanian counties, with higher numbers recorded in the counties of Siauliai, Kaunas and Klaipeda.
"The majority of cases in educational institutions were registered among children," NPHC spokeswoman Justina Petraviciene told BNS. "This can be attributed to the fact that more than 80 percent of education staff have already been vaccinated."
"This is very important, because all of us want children to be taught in classrooms," she added.
Despite Lithuania's worsening epidemiological situation, medical and care establishments have also avoided major clusters so far, unlike a year ago when the vaccination campaign had not yet started, the spokeswoman noted.
All schools across Lithuania started the new school year with in-person learning. Vaccination or testing is not mandatory but is recommended for students.
Lithuania has seen an increase in COVID-19 infections lately. Official statistics showed on Monday morning that the country's 14-day coronavirus infection rate had risen to 385.6 cases per 100,000 people, with the share of positive tests for the past 7 days at 6.4 percent.