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Coronavirus / Health board expects more Covid cases as figure rises again

Public health principal Elizabeth Robinson ‘extremely worried’ by the new cases

TWO more cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Shetland – with the local health board expecting more in the coming days.

NHS Shetland said the new cases are linked. It means there have been four new cases confirmed in the last week.

The health board said an “extensive contact tracing process is ongoing”. A particular area of concern remains the North Mainland.

Public health principal Elizabeth Robinson told Shetland News that over 30 people who have been identified as contacts of the recent cases have now been tested.

Today Brae High School was used as a centre where people could be tested so that folk did not need to travel into Lerwick. Some of the test results have not come back yet.

Robinson said she was “extremely worried” by the cluster of cases and “extremely concerned” that people may not have been abiding to guidance.

“It really is the worst thing that could have happened before Christmas,” she said.

“We have undertaken testing of contacts to try and identify any further cases and understand the extent of transmission,” an NHS Shetland spokesperson said.

“This is an evolving situation and it is highly likely that we will see numbers continue to rise over the next few days.

“We are clear that there is transmission within the community, particularly, but not limited to, the North Mainland.

“It is essential that people now act to slow the spread in Shetland. All contacts that have been identified will need to continue to isolate as advised by the Test and Protect Team regardless of their test result.”

Busta House Hotel posted on Facebook today (Thursday) that a staff member had tested positive.

“Late last night every member of the team was tested which has resulted in only two households from the hotel with confirmed cases of Covid,” it said.

“With the help of trace and protect we have managed to trace this back to a momentary lapse in judgement on Sunday evening, when we held a small, socially distanced dinner to thank all the team for all their hard efforts throughout the year.

“We are extremely grateful this has happened after we had closed and had no interaction with you, our guests. We just want to reiterate how seriously we take the safety of our customers and staff and wish a speedy recovery to the staff members involved.”

NHS Shetland wished to repeat yesterday’s message that everyone is asked to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms – “even if you think it is only a cold you should stay at home, and then if it develops into a fever, a new persistent cough or a new change in loss of taste or smell you should get tested”.

Its public health team is urging that as well as following the FACTS guidance, people should download the Protect Scotland app.

Not only does this help identify contacts people may have forgotten about, it also gives them the earliest possible prompt that they need to self-isolate.

Scottish Government advice, meanwhile, is that the safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is with your own household in your own home – and as far as possible, to keep any interaction with other households to a minimum.

Christmas bubbles of up to three households are allowed on 25 December to help reduce loneliness and isolation.

NHS Shetland says that if you have decided to form a bubble, “please take sensible precautions with any vulnerable people, including increasing the air flow if indoors, not sharing cutlery or condiments, and keeping a two metre distance as much as possible”.

From Boxing Day Shetland will move into level three of the country’s Covid restrictions amid concern over a new strain of the virus.