Residents of two other Skye care homes all test negative for COVID-19

NO F19 home farm care home
NHS Highland said it recognised that the coronavirus outbreak which has seen the deaths of five residents at Home Farm care home in Portree, pictured, was causing concern in the local community.

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Residents of two other care homes on Skye have been tested and returned all negative results for COVID-19, says NHS Highland.

In a statement last night (Friday), NHS Highland said it recognised that the coronavirus outbreak which has seen the deaths of six residents at Home Farm care home in Portree, was causing concern in the local community and that the health board wanted to give an update on the actions being taken to address this.

Home Farm is operated by HC-One and, as well as the six deaths, has also seen a total of 57 residents and staff members test positive for the virus.

‘Firstly we would like to express our deepest sympathy to those families who have suffered loss as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic,’ NHS Highland said in the statement.

‘NHS Highland is working with HC-One, The Care Inspectorate, and other agencies to maintain infection control and stabilise the care home during this period.

‘In order to understand and contain the spread of infection we have proactively taken a number of steps.’

These steps include testing all staff and residents at Home Farm care home and provide guidance and support to staff affected, and the families of care staff who will be self-isolating during this period.

Staff who are currently self-isolating will be tested prior to returning to work.

Staff and residents of Budhmor Care Home (Portree) have been tested and returned all negative results.

Residents in the An Acarsaid home (Broadford) also have been tested and returned all negative test results, while the results of the testing of staff are awaited.

A mobile testing unit has been in Broadford for testing of key workers this week to supplement the Covid Assessment Centre already in Portree.

The Covid Assessment Centre is triaging calls from 111 where members of the public with Covid symptoms can receive health advice, support and testing where appropriate.

NHS Highland said the number of referrals through this process remains low.

‘We are very grateful for the support of Highland Council and other government agencies in providing help and support to the local community in so many ways,’ said NHS Highland Chief Officer, David Park.

‘We would like to particularly recognise the work of the Skye Community Response team who have been tremendous in supporting directly, members of the community, the Care Homes, the assessment centre, care staff and others, during this period.

‘We are also very grateful for the understanding and support of public representatives and of the local community in general.’

NHS Highland’s Dirctor of Public Health, Dr Ken Oates, added: ‘The continued efforts of local communities, in trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been greatly appreciated and whilst we understand that the measures are difficult, your ongoing support is vital.’

NHS Highland said one of the most important actions people can all take is to follow the physical distancing measures in order to reduce interaction with other people.

This means that people should stay at home and not meet others, even friends or family, as that can spread the virus even if someone does not have symptoms.

People must only go outside for food, health reasons, once daily exercise, or to work (but only if a person cannot work from home) and they must stay two metres away from other people at all times if they do go out for essential reasons.

Simple infection control measures are important in reducing the risk of getting and spreading the infection such as: maintaining good hand hygiene and washing hands more often with soap and water; covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them in the nearest waste bin after use and then washing hands; avoiding direct contact with the eyes, nose and mouth; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

If someone develops symptoms, such as a new continuous cough and/or a fever, they should isolate by staying at home for seven days from the start of symptoms even if they are mild.

If someone lives with other people, they need to stay at home for 14 days from the start of symptoms even if they do not have symptoms themselves. If they develop symptoms within the 14 day period, they need to stay at home for seven days from the day their symptoms began even if this takes them over the 14-day isolation period.

The health board said it remains really important that everybody at extremely high risk of severe illness with coronavirus should follow the shielding advice.

NHS Highland added: ‘We understand that the measures currently in place as part of the lockdown are challenging but your ongoing help in following this advice will help minimise any risks of any further spread within the Skye community.

‘There is lots of helpful advice on the measures you and your family can take to keep yourself safe on the NHS Inform website. There is also a free helpline (0800 028 2816) if you have any other questions that are not answered by the information online.’