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Coronavirus / Coronavirus may have plateaued, according to health chief

Sturgeon warns social measures must remain in place

CORONAVIRUS in Shetland may have “plateaued”, according to health officials, with no more coronavirus-linked deaths reported since 20 April and the cumulative number of people testing positive for the virus remaining stable at 54.

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said on Tuesday that only small numbers of people that had been tested would now still have the virus in the isles.

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On top of these are many more people with symptoms who are self-isolating.

Dickson said that numbers may now have plateaued in a picture that was broadly reflective of Scotland as a whole.

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson. Photo: Shetland News

Nationally there were 656 deaths recorded involving coronavirus in the week 20-26 April – a similar figure to the previous two weeks.

Government figures for test results show that 11,034 people have tested positive for Covid-19 from 42,048 tests and 1,415 of these had died.

But the total of all deaths involving Covid-19 was 2,272 by 26 April, according to the National Records of Scotland which uses a broader yardstick for recording deaths.

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The latest Shetland figures do not make it clear if anyone is in the Gilbert Bain Hospital as numbers of patients below five are not specified.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said today (Wednesday) that over one third – 39 per cent – of country’s deaths had occurred in care home settings and this was broadly in line with the international picture.

She said that the disease was particularly harsh on the elderly, with almost all deaths involving people over the age of 65 and 74 per cent over the age of 75.

She also warned against people relaxing social distancing and remaining at home unless for essential reasons. If people stopped doing this the situation would rapidly worsen, she said.

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Scotland’s interim chief medical officer Gregor Smith meanwhile paid tribute to ambulance staff throughout the country and hailed the measures in place to help airlift patients from the islands if need be.

This involved the close cooperation of Loganair, the ferries, coastguard and military as well as the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Commenting on the NRS figures published today Royal College of Nursing, Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “To lose anyone to this terrible virus is a tragedy. The loss of those dedicated to caring for people in hospitals, care homes and in the community is felt profoundly by health and care colleagues across Scotland. If there are any lessons to be learned from these tragic situations, it is vital that they are acted on and the information disseminated quickly to other health and care employers.

“Care homes are at the centre of this pandemic and a clear strategy is needed to protect residents and staff. We need to ensure straight forward, timely access to PPE, testing and additional nurse staffing to ensure residents can continue to receive safe and effective care.”

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