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Coronavirus / Local Covid-19 testing to start on Tuesday

LOCAL testing for coronavirus is set to get under way on Tuesday after validation tests on the machine were carried earlier today (Monday).

Once up and running the equipment should ensure a big improvement in local services as it speeds up processing time for tests.

In the past swab samples were sent to a laboratory in Glasgow or Aberdeen meaning people had to wait between 48 and 72 hours before they would learn whether or not they had contracted the virus.

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson. Photo: Shetland News

It took NHS Shetland a month to get this vital piece of equipment to the isles after chief executive Michael Dickson first announced plans for testing facilities to become available in Shetland about a month ago.

The NHS boss said on Monday that from tomorrow (Tuesday) tests would be processed locally in the laboratory at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

“Bringing this machine online is a big step forward for healthcare in Shetland and we are now in a situation where we can turn test results around on the same day,” Dickson said.

“We still have the ability to have tests processed in Aberdeen should we need additional capacity.”

He added that having the equipment available in Shetland would not alter the local health board’s approach to testing.

“This does not change the Scottish Government testing policy which we will continue to follow in Shetland,” he said.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Shetland remained unchanged at 51 over the last 24 hours.

A total of 40,700 people across Scotland have now been tested for Covid-19. Of these 8,450 were positive, while 915 have died in hospital since the start out the coronavirus outbreak.

Extensive health advice about Covid-19 can be found at the NHS Inform website.