COVID-19 case numbers among children will rise when schools return, warns the Premier, who wants all Tasmanians "to be ready" for the increase.
While Public Health would not provide an indication of how many positive cases of COVID-19 might arise in the community, its director Mark Veitch confirmed numbers "would go up".
Up to 200,000 rapid antigen tests will be available for public schools, with North and North West schools to have all their COVID back to school packages, which include two RAT tests, by tomorrow.
A further 84,000 tests have been provided to Catholic and indpendent schools, while 64,000 tests are available from pharmacies. for concession holders.
Mr Gutwein said higher levels of testing across the community will result in more cases of COVID-19 being recorded.
"People should not be concerned if we see case numbers increase," he said.
"The key measurements as we often have said are the number of hospitalisations and ICU presentations, and at the moment they are all trending in the right direction but importantly, and I do want to ready Tasmanians for this, I do expect there will be an increase in cases.
"Not only will we see them here, but across the country."
Public Health director Mark Veitch said it would be "impossible to predict" how coronavirus numbers will rise once all schools have returned from February 9.
"There are tens of thousands of RAT tests out there, and we are strongly encouraging parents to use them on their children when they are symptomatic, or identified as a close household contact. There may also be instances if an outbreak in school occurs, where parents are asked to use the tests on their children," Dr Veitch said.
"Numbers will go up, particularly in school aged children. We will get a bit of an idea of that by looking at what happens in other state."
Dr Veitch reminded parents that masks are mandatory indoors for adults and secondary school students, but can be worn at other times voluntarily by any child or person, including primary school aged children.
"There are going to be more robust measures against transmission in primary schools than masks, but children are free to wear masks if they wish to."
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