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All Orkney keyworkers now eligible for on-site testing

NHS Orkney has announced that all symptomatic key workers can now be tested on-site at Orkney’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

Previously, the only keyworkers who could be tested at the assessment centre in Kirkwall were health and social care employees, while category two, three and four key workers had to apply for a home testing kit via a government portal.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today that anyone over the age of five who is symptomatic can now be tested, as can any social care worker – whether symptomatic or not. The Orcadian is awaiting clarification on how this will be put into practice in Orkney.

Speaking about the enhancement of key worker testing, NHSO chief executive designate, Iain Stewart said: “Testing will be undertaken at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre with results being available within hours rather than days.

“Currently our laboratory continues to provide a clinical service and the health board is confident at this time that demand for COVID-19 testing can be met and will be managed daily. However, it may be necessary on occasions to prioritise other cohorts such as those in Group One when demand for testing exceeds capacity”.   

If you are a key worker, and you or a family member is symptomatic of COVID-19 — a fever or a new and persistent cough for more than half a day, or a change in your sense of taste or smell — you may be eligible for COVID-19 testing. 

You can see the full list of keyworkers and their priority categories in Scotland by clicking here.

Sara Lewis, consultant in public health at NHS Orkney added: “The testing process will not include a health assessment. It is recommended that if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 you should visit the NHS Inform website in the first instance or contact NHS24 (111) to see if your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 infection

“If NHS24 advise symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 and home isolation is required you should contact your employer to obtain a copy of the testing referral form. A copy of the form can  be requested by visiting NHS Orkney’s website or emailing HighlandIslandMailKirkwall@scotland.pnn.police.uk ”.

“Completed testing forms should be emailed from an employee’s line manager or human resources deparment representative, where available, but in any case providing verification that they’re absence from work, on account of self-isolating, is preventing their respective organisation from operating and providing an essential service in Orkney.

“Forms should be emailed to the gateway address of HighlandIslandMailKirkwall@scotland.pnn.police.uk which is co-ordinating the testing service on behalf of Orkney Local Emergency Co-ordinating Group (OLECG) with the exception of Orkney Islands Council employees or health and social care workers who should continue to access COVID-19 testing through the process currently in place.

“On receipt of the referral the testing centre will contact you or your household member to offer an invite for testing. Test results should be available on the same day as testing, individuals will be contacted by the COVID-19 Assessment Centre who will confirm the test results with the individual and their employer. Test results of household members will be anonymised in line with Scottish Government guidance.

“Any individuals found to have a positive COVID-19 test result this will be reported to their line manager, their GP and NHS Orkney’s Public Health Department for follow up”

OLECG chairman, Chief Inspector Matt Webb said: “We would like to thank all the keyworkers who continue to work so hard to ensure services continue, enabling us to safeguard and protect the residents of Orkney.”

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