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Coronavirus / Visits restricted to care homes in bid to stop spread of virus

Changes have also been made to daycare, vocational activity and respite arrangements

Isleshavn care centre today. Photo SICIsleshavn Care Centre.

VISITS to Shetland’s care centres are now being restricted to essential visitors only.

This includes health and care professionals and close family visiting those receiving end of life care.

Care centre staff will ensure that, as far as possible, residents have access to telephones and Skype to maintain contact with family and friends.

Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk of coronavirus.

Changes have also been made to day-care, vocational activity and respite arrangements across Shetland.

Adult services – learning disability and autism groups at Eric Gray @ Seafield, and Newcraigielea Day Care and GOLD Group, will close to ordinary bookings from this week.

Day care provision will also close and alternative arrangements for day care services for older people are being made.

People affected by these changes will be contacted directly by care staff and arrangements made to support them in the best way possible.

Director of community health and social care Simon Bokor-Ingram said: “Care centre residents are particularly vulnerable to infection and we’re taking steps to help protect them during the current coronavirus pandemic.

“We have also made the difficult decision to close day care provision and some of the adult services groups.

“We understand that this will have a significant impact on families and carers but we’ve taken these steps to minimise the risk to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, based on the national guidance.”

This week most schools in Shetland are being shut amid a high number of staff and pupil absence.

As of Tuesday morning (17 March) there are 15 confirmed cases in Shetland, but this figure remains unclear as people self-isolating with symptoms are no longer being tested.