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Coronavirus / Ten more Covid cases confirmed in last 24 hours

Level four ‘almost certain’ if infection rate continues, community warned

TEN more confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Shetland in the last 24 hours, according to the local health board.

They are all linked to the North Mainland cluster but they have spread to the West Side and Lerwick.

Public health principal Elizabeth Robinson said if the infection rate continues then it is “almost certain” Shetland will move to level four of Scotland’s restrictions. Shetland, along with Orkney and Western Isles, are currently in level three.

Today’s (Monday) update comes after NHS Shetland confirmed on Sunday that there had been 16 new cases since 21 December.

A number of hospitality venues are connected with the new positive cases.

NHS Shetland is in the process of contact tracing those who dined at these venues and would ask those who receive text messages or are contacted by our team to isolate for the time period requested.

So far the health board has had to ask more than 120 people to self-isolate as a case or a contact, and this number is rising “rapidly”.

NHS Shetland said the “only sure way to stop this virus is to stay at home for the next two weeks, as much as possible”.

The health board said if you can work at home, do so.

“Leave home only for work if you are an essential worker, and for essential shopping,” a spokesperson said.

“Those who were shielding during the first lockdown should be very careful about moving around now and rather make arrangements for someone to assist with shopping and other chores”.

If you develop symptoms, you should book a test through the link on the NHS Shetland website.

Robinson said the spread of the virus had hit many families hard and she appealed to the community to be understanding and kind to those affected.

“This is a virus that knows no bounds,” she said.

“It has infected many in our community during the festive season. This is not a time to judge or point fingers but rather for each one of us to look at our own actions and ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep ourselves and others safe.”

It comes after Shetland Islands Council announced earlier (Monday) that indoor visiting at the isles’ care homes has been suspended.

NHS Shetland is also appealing to community members to download the Protect Scotland app on their mobile phone.

The app helps identify contacts people may have forgotten about, and also gives people the earliest possible prompt they need to self-isolate.

People are asked to:

  • Act in line with protection level 3 rules: we should not go into another person’s house except to provide care and support for a vulnerable person or as part of an extended household for people who live alone to reduce loneliness and isolation;
  • Follow the FACTS guidance – facemasks, avoid crowded places, clean hands regularly, two metre distancing and self-isolate/get tested if you develop symptoms;
  • Stay very 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 immediately self-isolate with the rest of your household and get a test;
  • If you have any symptoms at all, even if you think it might just be a cold, do the right thing and do not visit any vulnerable people, particularly in hospital and care home settings.

In addition:

  • If identified as a contact, you must self-isolate, and if you develop any symptoms get tested;
  • If you test positive you must self-isolate and be as honest and open as you can be about your movements and contacts to help the contact tracers carry out their work.