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Coronavirus / Covid numbers continue to rise as ten new cases confirmed

Health board hopes to have 2,000 islanders vaccinated by the end of January

A FURTHER ten new cases of Covid-19 have been added to the North Mainland outbreak cluster, after results from tests analysed through the UK Government laboratory scheme were received.

Meanwhile four people have been admitted to the Gilbert Bain Hospital with worsening respiratory illness as a result of Covid-19, NHS Shetland confirmed late on Tuesday.

The total number of cases associated with the cluster that started in the Brae area just before Christmas now stands at 84.

All those involved in these latest ten cases are already isolating and their contacts have been traced, the health board said in a statement.

NHS Shetland is still receiving a large number of requests for tests from people with Covid-19 symptoms and more positive results are expected, but at reduced numbers compared to last week.

Director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said all Covid patients in hospital are in a stable condition.

“We are continuing to provide all emergency and urgent planned care services at the hospital,” she confirmed.

“We are reviewing services on a daily basis at the moment, to ensure that we have the capacity to safely sustain emergency care, outpatient appointments and operations whilst supporting an increasing number of people with Covid-19 in hospital.

“Patients may be contacted and offered a tele health appointment to reduce travel and the need for face to face appointments.”

Public health consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw said the health board’s focus would now turns to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations, with around 2,000 islanders expected to be vaccinated by the end of this month, depending on supply.

To date 435 people have received the first Pfizer/Biontech vaccine – 169 NHS staff, 161 care home staff and 105 care home residents.

“We are expecting a delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week,” Dr Laidlaw confirmed.

“It will be used primarily for people aged over 80, starting with those who are housebound. All the care home residents who are able to have the Pfizer vaccine have already been vaccinated.”

She added: “We must follow the FACTS guidelines and the current government restrictions as this is the only way to keep ourselves and others safe at present.”