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Elk teen disco: PHA study reveals Covid impact of event across NI with over 200 cases now linked

Scroll down for full list of vaccine locations this weekend

A map released by the Public Health Agency (PHA) on Friday afternoon has revealed the widespread impact of a teen disco event in Toomebridge.

The TeenElk event was held at the Elk complex in the village on November 5, with the impact of Covid infections linked to the event shown by the PHA to stretch as far as Ballycastle, Larne and Derry.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical officer Sir Michael McBride said last week the event had impacted 20 schools across the province with 190 children infected with Covid-19.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

He also said it had led to 900 community contacts and has caused “disruption to our vaccination programmes” in those schools

While the PHA did not specifically name the event in question, a map they have released shows the impact, with the source location being in Toome.

They described an “event for young people at a hospitality venue in Mid Ulster” has now been linked to over 200 cases “spreading far beyond its original source”.

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Heatmap showing Covid clusters from the Elk event Credit: PHA

Heatmap showing Covid clusters from the Elk event Credit: PHA

Heatmap showing Covid clusters from the Elk event Credit: PHA

The TeenElk hosted young people aged around 11-16 with a ‘mineral bar only’ policy.

The map shows large clusters in areas nearby to the event such as Magherafelt, Ballymena and Randalstown.

However, Covid cases linked to the event have also popped up in Ballycastle, Coleraine, Cushendall and Larne.

The Elk complex currently has its entertainment license suspended while a Mid Ulster council investigation into the teen disco takes place.

The council said while the enquiry was ongoing a “prohibition notice” has been issued which prevents any further events for teenagers being held in the premises’ nightclub.

Parents described the event as “bedlam” and claimed 1,700 were in attendance at the ticketed occasion.

Previously, Dr Gerry Waldron from the PHA said it was “not at all surprising” that over 170 positive cases had been identified among those who attended the event, as the majority of young adolescent attendees “would have been unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated”.

“It’s quite a significant event and it probably is one of the biggest, if not the biggest one we’ve dealt with. There’s absolutely no doubt it’s a single event. It’s what we call epidemiologically speaking, a ‘point source’ linked with this teenage disco,” he added.

The Elk has been contacted in response to this story.

In revealing the impact, the PHA also urged young people to come forward to receive their Covid-19 jab, with a weekend of clinics available across Northern Ireland.

Dr Brid Farrell, Deputy Director of Public Health at the PHA, said: “We would really encourage young people to come forward for their vaccination. It will help protect them and the people they care about.

“The programme of special clinics this weekend will complement the ongoing school vaccination programme.”

Those aged 12-15-years-old will require an adult/ guardian to accompany them to a vaccine clinic to provide consent. 16 and 17 year olds are eligible for a second dose 12 weeks after their first dose.

Vaccination clinic locations below:

Saturday November 27

· Ballymena - Seven Towers Leisure Centre: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (closed 12.30 pm to 1.00 pm)

· Belfast - Ulster Rugby Kingspan Stadium: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

· Belfast - Ulster Hospital, acute services block: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

· Craigavon - Rushmere Centre: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (appointment only)

· Downpatrick - Downshire Hospital, Great Hall: 9.00 am to 4.00pm

· Enniskillen - South West Acute Hospital, key workers' accommodation: 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (appointment only)

· Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

· Londonderry - Altnagelvin Hospital, Level 5, tower block: 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (appointment only)

· Kilkeel Leisure Centre: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (appointment only)

· Omagh - Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital, old school canteen: 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (appointment only)

Sunday November 28

· Ballymena - Seven Towers Leisure Centre: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (closed 12.30 pm to 1.00 pm)

· Belfast - Ulster Rugby Kingspan Stadium: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

· Belfast - Ulster Hospital, acute services block: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

· Craigavon - Rushmere Centre: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (appointment only)

· Downpatrick - Downshire Hospital, Great Hall: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm

· Dungannon - the Junction: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (appointment only)

· Enniskillen - South West Acute Hospital, key workers' accommodation: 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (appointment only)

· Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre: 9.00 am –to 6.00 pm

· Londonderry - Altnagelvin Hospital Site, level 5, tower block: 9.00 am to 4.30pm (appointment only)

· Omagh - Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital, old school canteen: 9.00 am to 4.30pm (appointment only)


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