Covid-19 cluster identified on Barra

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Three individuals who are residents of Barra have this week tested positive for Covid-19.

Two individuals were hospitalised as a result – one was airlifted to a mainland hospital and the other was transferred to Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

Test and Protect actions are well underway and a number of close contacts have been required to self isolate.

Two of the cases are clearly linked with no clear link for the third case at this point.

NHS Western Isles is now asking the residents of Barra to be particularly vigilant in terms of any symptoms and to immediately self isolate (along with their entire household) and book a test if they develop symptoms, regardless of how mild.

An Incident Management Team (IMT) met yesterday (Tuesday) and is working with Scottish Government, and Public Health Scotland to provide advice and support.

In a statement, the health board said: ‘We would advise the local community that, as part of the identification of cases of Covid-19 and close contacts of cases, the decision has been taken to close St Brendan’s Hospital and Care Home to visiting until further notice. NHS Western Isles will update on this as necessary. ‘

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: ‘Our staff are working extremely hard in terms of Test and Protect, and important advice has been provided to all close contacts of the three cases identified.

‘If we are to prevent the spread of this virus through Barra, everyone must play their part and ensure they follow the rules and strictly avoid any unnecessary risks. Covid-19 thrives on complacency.

‘In particular, we are asking that everyone ensures they do not meet anyone who is not in their household within their home. Also, non essential travel must be avoided.’

And he added: ‘These cases on Barra have given us cause for serious concern, given that two individuals have required hospitalisation, and there are a number of close contacts already identified. We must all work together to ensure any spread of the virus is suppressed.’