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Coronavirus / No new Covid cases since Friday

NHS Shetland, however, warns that there could be more cases due to the time it takes for someone to become infectious

NO FURTHER Covid cases have been recorded in Shetland since Friday, despite fears of a developing outbreak connected to Whalsay.

However, NHS Shetland said there could still be more cases identified in the coming days because it can take up to 14 days after exposure before someone becomes infectious, although it is usually within 10 days.

NHS Shetland’s interim director of public health Dr Susan Laidlaw thanked the community for their support in helping to prevent the spread of the virus and said that people were continuing to come forward if they were concerned they may have been in contact with Covid recently.

It came after NHS chief executive Michael Dickson appealed to those being interviewed by contact tracers to disclose their contacts without fear of sanction.

More than 100 people were told to isolate after a handful of cases emerged last week connected to a social gathering in Whalsay.

Dr Laidlaw reminded those who had been phoned by a contact tracer and asked to isolate that they should remain in isolation for the full ten days, or as advised by the contact tracing team, even if they have had a negative test.

“There is still a chance that you can become infectious, with or without symptoms, during that time. It is really important that you abide by the public health guidance and complete your isolation to prevent the virus spreading further,” she said.

“Although we are in level zero, we still do have to follow FACTS and all the national guidance for this level including, for example, the number of people allowed in different settings and at events.

“Public health will still contact trace and test and take all the other actions that are required to manage any further cases and clusters to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent a large outbreak in our community.”

Dr Laidlaw said the vaccination rollout continued to progress well but, as before, people appeared to be missing calls from the vaccination team because they were not answering the phone.

“We really do understand that people are reluctant to answer a call from an unknown number but, if you know you are due your second vaccination, or if you have contacted us about having your first vaccination, please do take the call so we can schedule you in,” she said.

“We are still offering first vaccinations for people who have not yet had one, but you do need to make yourself known as soon as possible so that an appointment can be arranged for you. And it will still be eight weeks before you can have the second one.

“The evidence shows that the vaccination is preventing serious illness, hospital admission and deaths and may be having an effect on transmission on a population level. But we now know that two doses are needed to have good protection against the new Delta variant in particular.

“For our community’s sake it is very important that as many people as possible have two doses of the vaccination so that we can all be protected and keep moving on towards normality again.”

Any adult living in Shetland who has not had their first vaccination can leave a message at 01595 743319 and they will be called back with an appointment.

Meanwhile Shetland Islands Council reminded people this morning that some restrictions remain in place which are having a “serious impact” on day services and short breaks for adults.

Day services at Eric Gray Seafield, and short break and respite at Newcraigielea for adults with learning disabilities and autism, are still under restrictions which continue to limit service delivery.

Councillor Emma Macdonald, who chairs the Integration Joint Board, said: “We are aware that service users and their families are under pressure. The continued need, in particular, to maintain two metre distancing is a real barrier to a return to more normal services, as it limits the number of people who can physically get together.

“It must be very difficult to see the wider community move to less stringent restrictions while the government’s guidance continues to have an impact on these services, and we are hopeful that that can change before too long.

“In the meantime, however, we do understand the pressure some families are under, and our staff are working closely with them to understand their circumstances and what we can do to help.

“This is a difficult time for everyone, and I’d like to commend staff, service users and their families for their continued patience.”