MORE cases of coronavirus are expected to be confirmed in Shetland over the next few days as health protection staff work to trace and assess those who have been in contact with the latest four cases announced on Thursday.
NHS Shetland said it was now implementing its pandemic flu plan and felt confident it was able to cope with one of the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Scotland.
Six of the 60 confirmed Scottish cases are now in the NHS Shetland area.
Interim medical director Brian Chittick said: “We are focussing our preparations and our planning to ensure that we can – as best as possible – cope with a potential further increase in the number of confirmed cases in Shetland.”
Chittick said it was his belief that “at the minute” the right approach was to continue to test those with symptoms rather than doing random mass testings.
“It is part of our pandemic plan, but that may change as the situation changes. If there is a large number of confirmed cases then may have to revisit what our advice is.
“We are taking guidance from both the local and the national health teams.”
He added: “We forecast that there will be stresses on the service but I don’t think we are any different than any other health board that has identified confirmed cases of coronavirus in their population.
“We are planning as best we can with the information and the number of cases that we have to try and deal with things as best we can, and at the minute we are dealing with the initial identification of contacts, and that may lead to more cases.”
To slow the progression of the virus NHS Shetland is appealing to anyone who is not feeling well to stay at home.
A spokesperson for the health board said: “NHS Shetland would like to stress that for most people the virus will mean they develop an upper respiratory tract infection which is unlikely to have any serious impact.
“However, people living in care homes and staying in our hospital are especially vulnerable and the Shetland community is asked to be sensible and avoid these facilities or coming into contact with any elderly person or individual with an underlying health issue, if they are feeling unwell.
On Wednesday the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This means that the status of the virus is changing and it is more likely that the United Kingdom will move from the ‘contain’ phase to the ‘delay’ phase in the near future.
The symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, a cough and shortness of breath.
The health board advises that anyone experiencing these symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate:
- Those who might have been exposed to the virus through contact with someone who has a positive diagnosis are being contacted by NHS Shetland;
- If you think you have been exposed to the virus and have not been contacted and have symptoms, please stay at home;
- If you feel unwell and suspect you might have coronavirus please do not go to a health centre or A&E. Contact the health centre by telephone;
- In the case of anyone who is seriously ill and needs urgent help as their condition is life threatening – telephone 999 and declare that help is needed for a suspected serious case of COVID-19.
See also the advice on the NHS Inform website.
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