The number of positive Covid-19 cases in Scotland has shot up in Scotland over the festive period…but the number of people very seriously ill with the virus has not.
That forms the background to the latest figures from NHS Western Isles and the latest change of rules and guidance from the Scottish Government.
In the latest update from NHSWI Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson last night (Wednesday January 5) he explained there were 54 new cases: 34 on Lewis, 7 on Harris, 1 on North Uist, 1 on Benbecula, 5 on South Uist & 6 on Barra.
Changes are being made to self-isolation rules in line with public health advice and testing requirements to help maximise testing capacity and ensure a speedier start to the process of contact tracing.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, regardless of vaccination status, must still self-isolate for 10 days.
However, from today, 6 January, new cases will be advised they can end self-isolation if they don’t have a fever and test negative on a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) on Day 6 and again at least 24 hours later.
Triple vaccinated close contacts of those who test positive, both household and non-household, or those under the age of 18 and four months, do not need to isolate as long as they return a negative LFD test result each day for seven consecutive days, and remain fever-free.
The intention is for the public to be sufficiently reassured of a negative Covid-19 status during the potential incubation period.
Any close contact who is not fully vaccinated (three doses) will still have to self-isolate for the 10 days and take a PCR test.
Changes are also being made to testing after a positive LFD – people will no longer be asked to take a PCR test to confirm the result.
Instead, anyone with a positive LFD should report the result online as soon as the test is done. This ensures that people can get the advice they need as quickly as possible. After reporting their result, people should then fill in the online form they will receive, so that contacts can also be informed and rapidly given the correct advice.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “When the Omicron variant started to take hold, we strengthened self-isolation requirements, so that all household contacts had to self isolate for 10 days.
“That step was intended to slow the spread of the variant. It also reflected the fact that we knew less about the severity of the virus at that time, and that less of the population had protection from booster and third jags.
“We are now in a very different position – and so we can now adopt different rules.
“These changes are significant, but we believe they are also justified at this phase of the pandemic.
"They balance the importance of self-isolation – in slowing the virus’s spread and reducing the harm it can cause – with the wider harms to the economy that broader self-isolation rules can cause.”
- 16,103 new cases of COVID-19 reported*
- 69,327 new tests for COVID-19 that reported results*
- 26.9% of these were positive
- 5 new reported deaths of people who have tested positive
- 1,223 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 42 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 4,385,227 people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination
- 4,026,878 have received their second dose
- 3,016,198 have received a third dose or booster**
* There continues to be large volumes of tests being processed by labs; this and the holiday weekend have impacted turnaround times resulting in delays between specimens being taken and results being received and reported. Public Health Scotland are continuing to monitor the situation.
** Public Health Scotland have been notified that the vaccination data is incomplete due to a technical processing issue since 4 Jan 2022 15:00. The issue is currently being investigated.