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Coronavirus / Council gives reassurance to social care clients

SIC convener Bell and Shetland MSP Wishart pay tribute to care workers

Wastview care home in walls. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Islands Council (SIC) has moved to reassure anyone receiving social care, their families and staff working in the sector that everything is being done to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Council convener Malcolm Bell expressed his disappointment with what he described as “speculation” in the “local mainstream” media and on social networking platforms.

On Monday, the Care Inspectorate – which regulates and inspects care services in Scotland – confirmed to Shetland News that at least two residents in the Wastview care home had died as a result of suspected cases of Covid-19.

More accurate figures on Covid-19 cases in care homes are expected to be published by the Scottish Government and National Records for Scotland on Wednesday.

Over recent days the council has repeatedly declined to comment on the issue as due to the small size of the community individuals could potentially be identified.

Chief executive Maggie Sandison was in meetings all day on Tuesday and unavailable for interview.

Instead, the SIC issued a statement at lunchtime saying that currently ten social care clients were being barrier-nursed due to symptoms which may be Covid-19 related. This number has halved since last week.

The statement added that:-

  • Residents and staff in care centres are being tested when more than one individual is showing symptoms;
  • Some staff and their family members are also being tested to help get them back to work sooner if they don’t have the virus;
  • Social care staff have 24/7 access to expert advice from nursing, GP and public health services;
  • Should there be concerns in any setting, the NHS’s infection control Manager will visit; however, so far, no serious issues have been raised;
  • Supplies of the correct PPE have been secured and are being used as and when necessary.
SIC convener Malcolm Bell Photo: Shetland News

Referring to press coverage on Monday, council convener Bell said: “It is very disappointing to see so much speculation in local mainstream and social media, particularly around the location of those who have passed away due to Covid-19

“The council will not discuss or confirm the personal details of any of those who receive SIC support or services, including where they stay.  We have a duty of care to people, and that includes upholding their right to privacy.

“Our staff continue to do extremely important work in particularly difficult circumstances, and I’d like to express my personal gratitude for everything they are doing for our community.”

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart expressed her “deepest sympathy” with the families affected by the tragic deaths.

“This is very sad news and I’m sure that as a community we will be sensitive and respect the privacy of all families who have been affected by coronavirus,” she said.

“I’d like to thank staff working in all our care homes who are supporting residents, especially when they are deprived of visits from family and friends.

“In these unprecedented times care workers are an important part of the enormous team of frontline workers who are helping us get through this crisis.”

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Shetland has remained static at 45. A total of 615 people who have tested positive have died in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.