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breaking news

Orkney records 18 new COVID cases in single day

A total of 18 new cases of COVID-19 have been attributed to Orkney during the past 24 hours, according to figures published by Public Health Scotland.

This escalation in case numbers comes in the wake of a West Mainland COVID cluster.

However, early indications from public health suggest that some — but not all — of these cases are connected to the ongoing outbreak, which has links to Stromness Academy.

The community has been reminded to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene, and to take a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home, twice a week.

NHS Orkney consultant in public health, Sara Lewis, said many of the cases were being picked up through positive LFD tests that people were doing themselves and which were then confirmed with PCR tests.

“Everyone is doing really well with the LFD tests and this is helping us a great deal,” she said.

“However, it is important to remember that LFD tests are for you if you are asymptomatic.

“If you feel unwell, then you must isolate and immediately book a PCR test through the COVID Assessment Centre (CAC).”

Mrs Lewis explained that, if someone in a household was symptomatic, then their close contacts needed to keep doing LFD tests until they tested positive or became symptomatic themselves.

She said: “The virus takes a few days to incubate and, if you do a PCR test too early, you might get a negative result when you have already contracted COVID.

“So, if you have been a contact of someone and received a negative PCR result keep going with the LFDs but come forward for a PCR if you feel unwell or have a positive LFD test.”

Once again, Mrs Lewis stressed the importance of remembering the basic guidelines to keep safe.

She said: “This is now a community-wide issue, so we ask everyone to stay away from crowded places; keep a safe distance from people outside your home; wash your hands regularly and wear a mask when you are out.”

According to NHS Orkney, children should continue attending school unless they or someone in their household develops symptoms or they are an identified contact who has been called by the Test and Protect team.

Anyone who develops COVID symptoms or who has a positive LFD test, can request a PCR test through the CAC on 01856 888211.

The CAC is working at capacity with results taking time to process. While awaiting results of a PCR you must isolate, and this could be for a few days.

For a vaccination call 0300 303 5313 for an appointment.