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Coronavirus / NHS Shetland confirms first Covid-19 case in local school

A first case of Covid-19 at one of Shetland schools has been confirms by the authorities. Photo: Russel Wills/Geograph

SEVENTEEN pupils at Whiteness Primary School, as well as their class teacher and some support staff, have been told to stay home and self-isolate after a pupil tested positive for Covid-19.

It is the first confirmed case in a Shetland school.

Education officials say parents have been informed after one pupil tested positive, with the affected class group sent home.

The school with a roll of 86 primary one to seven pupils and 20 pre-school bairns has not been closed.

Praising the school’s regime of “good separation of classes”, director of children’s services Helen Budge said she was confident that the school could remain open. She confirmed that the school would be deep cleaned over the weekend.

This latest case, which has not yet been included in the official Scottish Government Covid figures, comes as first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that tighter regulations may have to come into force to drive down the number of new cases across Scotland.

Budge said NHS Shetland and the local authority were taking all necessary actions to manage the situation.

“There was extensive contingency planning and consideration taken around what might happen if a positive case emerged in one of our schools as part of the restart of the schools service,” she said.

“Our primary concern has always been the wellbeing of our pupils, our staff and the wider community.

“The measures that we have in place across all our schools are designed to limit virus spread within premises, including extra cleaning, separation of classes, good hygiene of pupils etc.

“The council has taken advice from public health and will continue to monitor the situation to decide whether further measures are required, and keep staff and parents informed of any further developments.”

Consultant in public health Shantini Paranjothy said: “The child concerned had symptoms and a test was requested.

“The individual and their family are now all self-isolating. We have worked with them and the school to identify possible contacts who might be at risk and we are working through these.

“This is not an unexpected situation, and we have been planning for cases in schools and other settings, but we must now work closely with Shetland Islands Council and the community to do our best to stop further spread.”

Meanwhile, as infection rates continue to rise and the daily number of new cases across Scotland remains high, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned of tighter restrictions to be announced in the coming days.

“I am giving people advance notice that we are likely to see some very difficult but necessary decisions,” she said during her daily briefing on Friday.

She also confirmed that there had been 203 new cases of Covid-19 in Scotland, fewer than on Thursday, but the percentage of positive tests among the 17,289 newly tested individuals was 4.4 per cent higher than the previous day.

The official figure for positive cases in Shetland remained at 57 on Friday.

Sturgeon added: “The bottom line here is this virus is on the rise again. Cases are rising quite rapidly. The percentage of tests is not as high as March but is rising. And the R number is now above 1.”

Dr Paranjothy added: “We are taking all necessary steps to contain the spread of the virus but it is vital people follow the FACTS guidance to prevent Covid gaining a foothold in Shetland.”

If you have Covid symptoms, you can book a test by filing in the referral form on the NHS Shetland website www.shb.scot.nhs.uk/ (click ‘self refer for Covid test if you have symptoms’)

There is more information here: www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19 and here www.parentclub.scot/topics/coronavirus

Covid-19 symptoms are:

  • New loss or change in sense of taste or smell
  • New fever
  • New continuous cough