More Covid-19 tests are underway to identify further contacts in the Isle of Barra outbreak of Covid-19 – and a number of people are self-isolating, reported NHS Western Isles last night (Tuesday January 12).

“At this time, we would ask 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.”

Hospital visiting has been temporarily suspended at St Brendan’s Hospital and Care Home in Castlebay as a precaution following identification of the COVID cluster on Barra.

All the Barra population are being advised to avoid unnecessary risks – and everyone else also, along with special care in relation to mainland travel.

In the latest update from NHSWI Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson, he says one new case of COVID-19 was detected from a contact of one of the previous day’s positive cases on Barra. That brings the known size of the Barra cluster to three. The individual involved is self-isolating on the mainland.

Meanwhile seven more people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Shetland bringing total number of new confirmed cases among people living in Shetland since mid-December tp 105.  NHS Shetland said yesterday that most of these new cases were family contacts of existing infections and a total of three patients with worsening Covid-19 symptoms have been flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary during the last seven days.  Director for nursing and acute services with NHS Shetland Kathleen Carolan said: “This has been a decision that has been pre-emptive, made by the clinical team in order to ensure that people who have worsening symptoms are able to access specialist care early.”

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Orkney. This was the third consecutive day in which no new cases have been reported following a rise of six last week. Five of the cases are thought to be linked to one household.

Scotland Summary:

  • 1,875 new cases of COVID-19 reported
  • 17,517 new tests for COVID-19 reported results
  • 0% of these were positive
  • 54 new reported deaths of people who have tested positive in past 28 days
  • 1,717 people are in hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 133 people are in intensive care with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 175,942 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination 
  • 2,857 have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination 

Two individuals affected in the Barra outbreak are in hospital – 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, says NHS Western Isles. 

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

"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.  

"In addition, NHS Western Isles is providing an important reminder to the population of Barra to ensure that all members of the community are aware of and follow Protection Level 3 laws and restrictions.  

"Of particular importance is that you must not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors in your home or in their home. The exception to this is if you are required to go into another household to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring situation.  

"In addition, you must not travel into or out of the area unless your travel is essential. Even if your travel is classed as ‘essential’ under current government legislation, we would strongly urge that even travel which comes under this definition is carefully assessed at this time and that, where travel can be safely avoided or delayed, we would ask that this is carefully considered. 

"It is imperative that each member of the community of Barra takes a personal responsibility to help protect the wider community, friends, family, and colleagues as well as safeguarding and protecting the local health and social care services. FACTS guidance should be adhered to in all circumstances."