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Coronavirus / Covid virus detected in the town’s wastewater

ALTHOUGH Lerwick has not had any confirmed Covid cases for some weeks, the presence of the virus was nevertheless detected in the town’s wastewater earlier this month.

It comes as another reminder that the Covid pandemic is not over yet and that despite the easing of restrictions vigilance is still required.

NHS Shetland’s interim director of public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said wastewater testing forms part of the government’s modelling of the spread of the virus.

The latest SEPA wastewater report published today (Friday) said the recent increase in Covid cases across Scotland is reflected in wastewater data.

Nine local authority areas in Scotland were at particular risk of increasing transmission, including Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire and, surprisingly, the Western Isles.

With regards to Shetland, the report said: “Alloa in Clackmannanshire and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands both show increases in virus levels that are not yet reflected by the case levels.”

NHS Shetland’ interim director for public health Dr Susan Laidlaw.

Dr Laidlaw said: “It appears that Covid-19 was detected in the wastewater from Lerwick in tests taken on 10th and 11th May. There was none detected in the test taken this week.

“The amount detected was small and was analysed as representing between 0 and 5 cases per 100,000 people, which would be between 0 and 1 in Shetland.

“We have had no confirmed cases of Covid 19 from that area over the past few weeks, but there could have been someone who was asymptomatic in Lerwick at that time.”

She added that this should be seen as a “reminder for people to be vigilant, always isolate with their household and request a test if they have symptoms”.

Detailed information on how to book a test can be found here.

Earlier this week, a confirmed case was added to Shetland’s tally following a positive asymptomatic test – the first time since mid-April that the figure had gone up.

But a more sensitive follow-up test at the Gilbert Bain Hospital laboratory returned a negative result.