Western Isles record highest number of Covid since pandemic started

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Record rising Covid cases in the Western Isles could impact NHS services.

The health authority recorded its worst day for Covid infections on Saturday February 26 when 69 new cases of coronavirus were reported, the highest figure since the pandemic began two years ago.

The majority of those cases were on Lewis where 57 positive results were detected, there were five cases of Barra. South Uist and Harris both reported two cases, while there were three on North Uist.

NHS Western Isles is now urging our communities to continue with basic measures to help stop the virus spreading and protect more services, including the NHS and other businesses and organisations being hit by staff absences across the islands.

NHS Western Isles chief executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: ‘While we welcome increased freedoms and easing of restrictions, Covid-19 is unfortunately not going away.

‘We currently have evidence of community transmission in the Western Isles and while the virus continues to spread, it will have a varying impact on people’s lives, both in terms of disruption where self-isolation requirements remain in place, and for some, in terms of their health.

‘Our communities have worked so hard over the past two years to protect each other and we should all be proud of our efforts. We must continue to work together to take the measures that we can, and are able to, to minimise the spread or transmission and disruption, to protect both health and the local economy.’

Hospital admission rates linked to Covid-19, although fairly constant, remain low and the majority of people in the Western Isles who contract Covid-19 are experiencing mild or no symptoms – although for some people it can still cause significant ill-health.

But NHS Western Isles Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dr Dermot Gorman has reinforced the importance of self-isolating and booking a PCR test if you have symptoms. Even people with mild symptoms, included those who have had a negative lateral flow test, should arrange a PCR test by calling 01851 601151 or emailing wi.covid19queries@nhs.scot.

‘In the Western Isles, there has been an excellent uptake in the Covid vaccine. Vaccination remains our best protector against the virus and against getting seriously ill from Covid-19. We continue to urge anyone eligible who has not yet been vaccinated – or who is due a second or booster dose – to attend one of our drop-in clinics advertised at coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot,’  said Dr Gorman.