NHS Shetland issues coronavirus Q&A for public

NHS Shetland has issued answers to some of the questions they are being asked by the public about coronavirus.

The Q&A, which is listed below, comes as the number of cases in the isles has risen to 11, with five more people testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday.

The Scottish government is moving into the ‘delay’ phase of its response, meaning arrangements regarding contract tracing and testing will change.


The advice seems to be changing about what I should do if I am concerned I have been exposed to someone with Covid-19. Should I ask for testing?

No. If you do not have symptoms you should continue as normal, taking good respiratory and hand hygiene precautions such as using and disposing of tissues and hand washing.

If I know I have been in contact with someone with confirmed Covid-19 even if I don’t have any symptoms should I self-isolate?

No. You do not need to contact your GP or Public Health. Please follow the general advice with regard to good respiratory and hand hygiene.

If I have symptoms of a persistent cough or fever should I self-isolate regardless of whether I think I may have been in contact with a confirmed case?

Yes. Measures brought in from today, Friday 13th March ask all those showing even mild symptoms – new persistent cough or fever/temp – to self-isolate for seven days. There is no need to call a GP or NHS24 unless your symptoms significantly worsen or if you have underlying conditions. Mild illness can be expected to last four to five days and should clear thereafter, hence the seven days isolation then return to normal.

Why has this advice changed?

This is intended to delay wider population spread, reduce the peak of infection rates and push it back for a few weeks so that services are not overwhelmed. It also helps avoid infectious people being in contact with elderly or vulnerable people. 

I’ve been self-isolating but I feel ok now – when can I stop?

Advice has changed so that if you have been self-isolating this can end on Day 8 after the onset of symptoms if you are feeling better and you have had no fever for two days. If a cough is the only persistent symptom on Day 8 you can return to work (as a post-viral cough is known to persist for several weeks in some cases). 

If you are no longer testing why do you still need the health pod outside the Gilbert Bain Hospital?

Some people are unwell, with a variety of respiratory symptoms and may be advised by their GP or NHS24 to attend the A&E Department. If this is the case, A&E staff may decide that using the health pod is the best environment to undertake the initial health assessment to minimise the potential spread of infection.

Should I visit someone in hospital?

If you think you are showing any signs of illness (and not just those relating to coronavirus) please do not visit the hospital. At this time we would like to minimise the number of people in the hospital to reduce the spread of infection so would ask that visitors are restricted to immediate next of kin and carers at this time.


Add Your Comment
  • Vivienne Gaffney

    • March 13th, 2020 18:54

    Is there any extra advice for immuno -comprimised individuals, or people with chronic health conditions other than be extra vigilant? So far I have seen nothing specific or of any consequence. Perhaps I have missed it? Many of us unfortunately have to travel to Aberdeen regularly for treatment, which unfortunately negates the whole social distancing thing. Sumburgh is great. They have really tried to accomodate me, however Loganair planes are not cleaned between flights and Aberdeen Airport security is dirty. They do not change gloves or sanitise between bag searches or body searches. Not the staffs fault, management seem to think it is unneccesary.

  • Michael Inkster

    • March 14th, 2020 11:14

    Is the answer to question 2 in the first sentence, ie, NO, you do not need to self isolate, as sentence two does not relate directly to the question, as I read it, unless this is intended to be additional guidance. It could prove to be very important to give clear and concise advice, if people are to act on that advice correctly. Accordingly, I think that this needs to be clarified, M Inkster

  • Helen Braynis

    • March 14th, 2020 14:50

    The WHO has condemned the UK approach of maximum infection of the population to create “herd immunity” and accept many loved ones will die.

    How does NHS Shetland intend to provide intensive care facilities?
    What provisions are in place for those living outside the mainland?

    Or are we simply expected to provide our own body bags (do these go out with black bags or in recycling bins) as part of the Prime Minister’s social cleansing experiment.

  • Joanne Harding

    • March 17th, 2020 10:44

    There is a lot of posts being shared claiming that ibuprofen, naproxen and other anti inflammatory medications are dangerous for people with covid 19. Is there any truth in this? I’ve seen similar in the past about chicken pox


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