Western Isles ‘in talks’ for level four restrictions after six new positive cases confirmed

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed at Friday’s coronavirus briefing that there have been six new positive coronavirus cases in the Western Isles.

The Health Secretary announced that six new cases were reported in the Western Isles today and nine cases yesterday.

Nine positive cases were also confirmed in the Western Isles on Thursday.

She noted that while the numbers are small, due to the small population on the Scottish Islands, the case numbers are proportionately high and Stornoway’s hospital is currently at full capacity. Over 60 people in the population are currently self-isolating.

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Ms Freeman added at the briefing that talks are taking place over the possibility of moving the whole of the Western Isles into level four restrictions.

The six new cases confirmed on Friday are linked to an outbreak in Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, bringing the total connected to the outbreak to 12.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson confirmed in a statement that most of the cases were in relation to staff members working at the hospital.

The UK variant of Covid-10 has also been identified in the Western Isles.

Contact tracing is underway and a number of people have already been asked to self isolate. It is understood that over half the self-isolation number is hospital staff.

The families of affected patients have been contacted and the NHS has asked that families of patients do not contact the hospital for further details related to this outbreak as the hospital is extremely busy and staff are unable to provide further details of those affected.

Services in hospital are currently running as normal but will be kept under constant review and any changes will be communicated.

Visiting in the Western Isles Hospital is currently restricted to essential visiting only as a result of the outbreak.

There has also been a new cluster of three cases in Benbecula. This cluster, and the associated close contacts, are unfortunately impacting on Griminish Surgery. The surgery remains closed - but patients can call ahead to arrange collection of medication.

Contingency arrangements for Uist and Barra Hospital are also being planned, as medical staff from the Griminish Surgery provide cover for the hospital.

There is a further case on South Uist linked to a previous positive case.

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