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McArthur welcomes release of testing figures

The Test and Protect scheme means anyone over the age of five with the recognised symptoms of COVID-19 can access testing. NHS Orkney has produced a graphic explaining how people in the county can be tested and this is being shared on social media and the health board website.

The publication of the number of coronavirus tests undertaken by NHS Orkney has been welcomed by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur.

NHSO chief executive Gerry O’Brien confirmed, yesterday, Tuesday, that 555 tests have been conducted within Orkney since testing began, up until June 1.

According to Mr O’Brien, a total of 338 tests have been conducted in Orkney since the beginning of May. These figures do not account for tests undertaken through the UK Government testing system.

Mr McArthur who, alongside the local press, has repeatedly appealed for this information to be released, was pleased that figures had finally been made public.

He said: “I welcome the decision by NHS Orkney to publish localised information and provide the public with greater clarity on the level of testing taking place in Orkney.

“I have been pressing Ministers for weeks to agree to releasing testing data.  To date, despite warm words, the Scottish Government has refused to budge.

“I therefore welcome NHS Orkney’s decision to follow the lead taken by NHS Shetland in making public this information.  As we move forward with ‘test and protect’, other types of information will also be needed to give people an understanding of the situation in their local area.

“It is clear that transparency is key to building public confidence and the compliance we will need to see as we continue to emerge from lockdown. This move by NHS Orkney is a good step in the right direction.”

NHS Orkney has sought to remind the community that testing is available for anyone over the age of five who has symptoms, and to keep up hygiene standards in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Mr O’Brien said: “It is down to the great work and commitment from all those who live and work in Orkney that we have kept positive results so low, but we must not get complacent.

“As the lockdown is being relaxed and people begin moving around more freely, we will be exposed again.

“To keep safe, our community must continue to stick to the hygiene and infection control guidelines.”

These include:

  •  Wash hands with soap and water;
  • Keep 2m (6 feet) away from other people when out of your own home as much as
    you can;
  • Wear face coverings when out as advised by the Scottish Government, for example
    on public transport;
  • Abide by physical / social distancing rules including who you are allowed to meet with
    and where.


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