Covid surge is ‘most serious outbreak since March’

A cluster of Covid-19 cases linked to the North Mainland is largely responsible for a surge in infection rates.

NHS Shetland has confirmed that since Monday there have been 16 new cases, 15 of which were part of the same cluster, “predominantly in, but not limited to, the North Mainland of Shetland”.

The other case was someone who had returned to the isles.

It is “by far the most serious outbreak we have had since March”, corporate services manager Carolyn Hand said in a statement issued on Sunday. The statement added that the health board needed the community to “work with us”.

Over 70 contacts have been identified in connection with the outbreak and are self-isolating, according to NHS Shetland. About 50 people have been tested.

Ms Hand issued a reminder that Shetland had entered level three of the Scottish government’s coronavirus restrictions.

That means people should not go into someone else’s house other than to provide care for someone vulnerable or as part of an extended household to reduce loneliness and isolation for those who live alone. She added that everyone should stay extra alert.

NHS Shetland is also urging everyone to download the Protect Scotland app and to follow the Scottish government’s “Facts” guidance.

Anyone showing symptoms, even “if you think it might just be a cold”, is being told to be extra cautious. They should not visit vulnerable people, particularly in hospitals or care homes.

The total number of cases in Shetland stands at 92.

To help curb the spread of coronavirus, NHS Shetland reminded anyone who was identified as a contact that they must self-isolate. Anyone who develops symptoms must get tested and provide information to help contact tracers do their work.

“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,” Ms Hand added.

“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.”

The statement added that the community had proved in March that it could work together to bring an outbreak under control.

“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.”


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