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Coronavirus / Expanded Covid-19 testing scheme already attracting self-referrals

NHS SHETLAND says it has already received a number of self-referrals for coronavirus testing within the first 24 hours of the new scheme being up and running.

Since Thursday anyone above the age of five with Covid-19 symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough and loss of taste or smell) can request a test while self-isolating.

The test – carried out with a self-swab kit at people’s homes – should be done as soon as possible after developing symptoms, ideally within three days, and will be sent to the Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow for analysing.

The local public health team said they were grateful to ferry operator NorthLink for offering to transport test samples to the Scottish mainland for onward courier to Glasgow free of charge.

A spokeswoman for the local health board said on Friday staff were carefully monitoring how the process is working.

She said some self-referrals had been re-routed to the “local swabbing and testing process as they have met the criteria for that”.

This is a separate process reserved for key workers and for clinical purposes using the small local laboratory for analysing the test sample.

NHS Shetland also said they had received a number of self-referrals from people who have had symptoms in the past “as opposed to the last five days” so a swab had not been appropriate.

People with symptoms (or on behalf of someone with symptoms) can complete a self-referral form here. They can also phone 01595 532030 to self-refer between 9am-12.30pm and 2pm-5pm on weekdays.

Further info about the scheme as applied in Shetland can be found here.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Shetland has remained unchanged at 54.