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Three new cases confirmed in West Mainland COVID cluster

Sixteen people have now tested PCR-positive in the West Mainland COVID-19 cluster, up three from Thursday.

The message from Orkney’s public health team, this Friday evening, is to encourage everyone in the community to continue doing Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests at home and log the results (positive or negative). It is hoped that this will give authorities a good overview of if, and how, the virus is spreading.

NHS Orkney consultant in public health, Sara Lewis, said there was no reason children who did not have symptoms or a positive LFD test result to be kept home from school or be isolating if they had not been contacted by the Test and Protect team.

This follows a statement from Orkney Islands Council’s executive director of education, leisure and housing, James Wylie, yesterday evening, suggesting that some reports by parents of positive LFD tests had been “inaccurate”.

“COVID has been extremely disruptive on young people’s lives, and we urge parents to let their children come to school unless they have symptoms, a positive lateral flow test or have been told by us that they are an identified contact and asked to isolate.

“While rules around social distancing have been relaxed, Mrs Lewis said good hand hygiene, coughing into the crook of your arm and wearing a mask would prevent the virus spreading.

“These very basic steps can keep you safe.”

Speaking on behalf of OIC this evening, Mr Wylie, added: “Today has seen a small rise in positive cases in the West Mainland. The significant attention that people have paid to testing and the mitigations in place to manage the spread of COVID-19 are having an impact and I urge you to continue this vigilance.

 “I would like to thank all pupils, parents and staff for everything that they have done over the last week to engage with ourselves and public health.

 “I urge parents to follow the public health guidance that young people who do not have symptoms, a positive lateral flow test or contact through Test and Protect to attend school to ensure that both social and academic progression is not impacted unnecessarily.”