Praise for health staff as Shetland’s Christmas outbreak of Covid declared over

Health staff have been praised for their “huge amount” of work to tackle Shetland’s Christmas Covid-19 outbreak, which has now been declared over. 

Elizabeth Robinson public health and planning principal at NHS Shetland  told today’s board meeting that the date the recent outbreak began, 19th December, weighed heavily on her heart.

“There has been a huge amount of work by everybody since then to really tackle the numbers and get them right back down again to the extent where we’ve now been able to declare the Christmas and January outbreak over,” she said.

“Since then we’ve had just a couple of sporadic cases with no spread associated with those.”

Ms Robinson presented a series of charts showing the spread of the outbreak, beginning in the North Mainland, before reaching households. 

Towards the end of the outbreak a cluster of 12 cases was recorded in Yell. 

NHS Shetland has sent samples off for genome sequencing to identify whether the cases were all related or, as is suspected, came through two separate routes. 

Figures also showed a massive increase in demand for NHS 24 services, which received more than 80 calls at the height of the outbreak.

Ms Robinson also said the outbreak had a “huge impact” on the local Covid testing lab and praised staff for dealing with the work with “good humour”.

Since June, more than 13,000 tests have been taken in Shetland,  including 2,846 in December alone. 


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