Authorities dealing with serious Covid outbreak

NHS Shetland is appealing to everyone in the community to urgently follow all the Covid-19 restrictions and take every necessary precaution to avoid the spread of the virus after the number of confirmed cases shot up to 92 over the last three days.

Since Monday 16 new cases have been confirmed, mainly in the north mainland where the public health team is trying to get an outbreak under control.

A further case has been picked up following an individual’s return to Shetland.

Public health principal Elizabeth Robinson said: “Over the last few days over 70 contacts have been identified, with around 50 being tested.

“A proportion of those tested have had no symptoms, but having the capacity to test them on island has been a real positive in demonstrating the spread of the virus.”

She added: “I am sure we will see more cases over the next few days, and it is not just confined to the north mainland, so there are cases in other parts of Shetland as well.

“What we absolutely have to do is not letting it into care homes or to people who deliver care at home.”

All contacts are self-isolating as this is required even with a negative test result, the health board said.

This is by far the most serious Covid-19 outbreak Shetland has experienced since March.

Robinson said that everyone in the Shetland community needed to help bring the situation under control and close the outbreak down. She urged people to: –

  • Act in line with protection level 3 rules: we should not go into another person’s house except to provide care and support for a vulnerable person or as part of an extended household for people who live alone to reduce loneliness and isolation;
  • Follow the FACTS guidance – facemasks, avoid crowded places, clean hands regularly, two metre distancing and self-isolate/get tested if you develop symptoms;
  • Download the Protect Scotland app if you can: This helps identify contacts people may have forgotten about, and also gives people the earliest possible prompt they need to self-isolate;
  • Stay very alert to Covid-19 symptoms: even if you think it is only a cold you should stay at home, and then if it develops into a fever, a new persistent cough or a new change in loss of taste or smell you should immediately self-isolate with the rest of your household and get a test;
  • If you have any symptoms at all, even if you think it might just be a cold, do the right thing and do not visit any vulnerable people, particularly in hospital and care home settings.

In addition:

  • If identified as a contact, you must self-isolate, and if you develop any symptoms get tested;
  • If you test positive you must self-isolate and be as honest and open as you can be about your movements and contacts to help the contact tracers carry out their work.

Robinson continued: “Alongside individual efforts, we are urging our community businesses, and in particular our hospitality venues, to take every necessary precaution to support the fight against Covid.

“This includes keeping accurate lists of visitors with telephone contact details, paying meticulous attention to additional hygiene requirements and ensuring premises are always kept well ventilated.

“For anyone who thinks they are low risk and can take the chance of catching the virus, think again about the onward damage you might cause. We know that even relatively small gatherings can have a significant influence on spreading the virus and for that reason they are not permitted.

“To help Shetland get back to low incidence of transmission, and thereby give us the possibility of greater freedoms, please work with us to close this outbreak down.”

If you are unsure what you can and cannot do at protection level three please visit the Scottish Government website.

Shetland News