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breaking news

Possible tenth Orkney COVID case identified

Michael Dickson, NHS Orkney interim chief executive.

A new potential case of coronavirus has been identified in an Orkney resident, NHS Orkney has confirmed, this afternoon, Tuesday.

At the time of publishing, it is yet to be fully verified whether the individual concerned, who is asymptomatic, does indeed have the virus. According to NHS Orkney’s interim chief executive, Michael Dickson, this is because the new positive test was conducted by an industrial lab which had not been validated by the NHS.

The individual, who is not currently in Orkney — but has been in the county during the past week — has been asked to self-isolated. This person will be immediately re-tested by the nearest NHS verified lab — the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow.  In the meantime, NHS Orkney will be tracing individuals that the person in question has come into significant contact with.

It should be confirmed within the next three days whether this is indeed a new test-positive case — the tenth for Orkney, if so.

Mr Dickson said: “A number of industries use labs to undertake COVID swab tests and this labs are not validated by the NHS.

“We can’t be confident that, if the same test had been done in an NHS lab, it would have achieved the same result.”

The interim chief executive, who is the permanent chief executive for NHS Shetland, explained that there had been a similar issue with a possible case within his home board. He added that, like in Shetland, he would be working to see whether some industries which have been testing their staff for the virus could do so through an NHS verified lab.

“What we do is presume the person is positive,” Mr Dickson continued.

“We kick in all the our well-rehearsed contact-tracing mechanisms and we instruct the person to self-isolate where they are.

“When this happened in Shetland, the second test came back negative. It’s difficult, but we have to err by the side of caution.”

Mr Dickson said that he understood that there would be an element of anxiety around this new possible case, and advised that all those who have come into significant contact with the individual in question will be contacted and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. If a contact is in a high risk category, a decision may be taken to immediately test them for coronavirus.

“If you do not receive a call from our contact tracing team, then basically you’ve not been in significant contact with this individual,” the interim chief executive said.

It is not known if this case will be included in NHS Orkney’s positive COVID cases as the original lab is not an NHS facility.