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Some COVID measures ‘here to stay’ says NHS Orkney chief

NHS Orkney has shared an update with the community, ahead of changes to COVID-19 regulations due to take place next week.

As Scotland looks set to scrap the mandate for face coverings in public spaces, the health authority has confirmed that such protections will remain in its own clinical spaces.

Michael Dickson, interim chief executive said: “We knew COVID would never disappear overnight.

“Instead, we are seeing small changes one bit at a time, the changes outlined below are simply the next steps.

“As we move through the changes, many of the COVID regulations will remain across NHS Orkney, face coverings will still be required when entering health and social care settings and if visiting, lateral flow tests will still be provided and required.

“All of these will continue to be under regular clinical review but at present some measures are here to stay.”

This means if you’re visiting loved ones, you will still be asked to wear a surgical mask provided on the arrival at the hospital or any other healthcare facility.

As of Monday, April 18 most people will be able to stop regular lateral flow testing. There will be no need to test when you feel well and don’t have Covid symptoms, this will be the end of routine asymptomatic testing.

Lateral flow tests will not be available for those who do not have COVID symptoms. Regular testing will still take place within specific workplaces i.e., health and social care
settings and tests will be provided for those within this group.

For the moment, PCR testing is remaining, and these tests continue to be for anyone with symptoms.

You can still seek a PCR test as previously done, no appointment needed simply, drive to the old Macmillan Unit at the Old Balfour and you will be given a PCR test kit. If you cannot drive, you should call 0300 303 9545 for assistance.

NHS Orkney has said it does expect PCR testing to change at the end of April. This will mean, even if you are symptomatic, you will no longer require any form of test but instead, the public health guidance will be to stay at home if you feel unwell.

Lateral flow testing will continue for anyone visiting a care home or hospital, and these will be provided. This will be kept under regular clinical review.

Contact tracing is still in place for the moment however, it is also due to come to an end at the end of the month with the removal of PCR tests.

If you’re feeling unwell with COVID symptoms and, need medical advice, your first point of call should be your GP. Outwith practice hours, you can call 111 to seek advice. You can also continue to seek COVID information and advice via NHS Inform at https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-
conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

Vaccinations are continuing to be offered, if you are yet to receive your first, second or booster dose, you
can come forward at any point to begin your vaccinations.

You can call the vaccination centre on 0300 303 5313 to book an appointment or to simply chat to one of the team about any questions you
have regarding the vaccination. In addition, NHS Orkney is currently offering spring boosters to anyone aged 75+ or those in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category.

To find out which doses you are eligible for, please visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/the-vaccines/coronavirus-covid-
19-booster-vaccination/.