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Coronavirus / Covid number keeps creeping up

THE CUMULATIVE number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Shetland is slowly edging up to the 200 mark after three more cases were reported over the last 24 hours.

NHS Shetland said the cases were linked to a variety of sources: the virus spreading within families, off island travel and the original North Mainland outbreak.

A total of 195 positive cases have now been confirmed in Shetland since the pandemic began last year.

Consultant in public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said: “While the daily numbers of new positive results are decreasing from the outbreak over the festive period, the position is finely balanced and everyone is reminded of the part they play in eliminating the virus.”

Meanwhile, anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms is urged to use the opportunity to get tested at the mobile testing unit, currently based at Gilbertson Park in Lerwick.

The walk-in service has capacity to test 80 people a day. Slots can also be booked online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Chief executive Michael Dickson said: “The sustained community effort in reducing transmission is key to protecting our loved ones and our local services.

“Given we have the temporary additional testing capacity through the mobile unit at Gilbertson Park, I would urge anyone with suspected cold or potential Covid symptoms to book an appointment and get tested.

“We need to continue working together to get back to low incidence of virus transmission while we roll out the vaccination programme in the coming weeks and months – while the vaccine offers hope, we cannot become complacent at this stage.”

Results are already coming back from those who have had tests at the Gilbertson Park.

Almost 265,000 people in Scotland have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said during her daily briefing on Monday.

Viking Energy construction workers returning to Shetland on board a Loganair charter flight on Monday morning. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

The government hopes to have those in the priority groups one and two vaccinated by the start of February, after which date the programme will be rolled out to everybody over 75 and then 70.

By early May the vaccine should be made available to people aged over 50.

Meanwhile, wind farm developer Viking Energy has quelled speculation that work on site had stopped on Friday afternoon due a confirmed Covid case among workers.

A company spokesman said work for main contractor RJ McLeod had stopped due to a routine shift pattern to allow workers to go home every second weekend.

He said work would commence on Tuesday as workers were travelling back to the islands on Monday. All workers would be tested again before returning to Shetland, he said.