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First COVID-19 case for nine weeks recorded in Orkney

The first positive COVID-19 case in Orkney in over nine weeks has been reported in today’s Scottish Government figures, following a test through The Balfour laboratory, NHS Orkney has confirmed.

A spokeswoman for NHS Orkney confirmed that the resident was now self-isolating, and all contacts of the individual concerned have been identified and informed they need to isolate.

Aside from a case attributed to a passing ship in Orkney waters on March 21, the last test-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Orkney was on February 18, 64 days ago.

Of that case on March 21, as NHS Orkney was the nearest health board, the case was attributed to Orkney’s figures, even though no Orkney residents were involved.

NHS Orkney has confirmed that new contact tracing guidance has also come into effect whereby known household contacts will be proactively tested for COVID-19, rather than waiting for them to become symptomatic.

NHS Orkney interim chief executive Michael Dickson said that while it was encouraging that it had been a month since Orkney had previously recorded a positive test, it was to be expected that there would be new cases for some time to come.

Should this occur, it should not be seen as an emerging outbreak but rather a demonstration of the Test and Protect system working, say the health board.

He said: “With restrictions starting to ease, the community still has a really important role to play in keeping transmission of the virus as low as possible in Orkney.

“Everyone is asked to continue to avoid crowded places and minimise indoor contact with other households, as well as complying with good respiratory and hand hygiene and being vigilant to COVID-19 symptoms.

“The vaccination rollout is going very well in Orkney, with 77 per cent of the local population having had a first vaccine and 19 per cent having a second.

“This provides us with a level of assurance as we look forward to some of the restrictions on our daily lives easing, but it is in all our interests to keep cases to a minimum.”

The total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Orkney since the start of the pandemic now stands at 72.

If you or a family member have symptoms, book at test at NHS Orkney’s assessment centre on 888211.

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