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At least 68 positive tests for Covid in Caithness over latest seven-day period


By Alan Hendry

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Wick North had a seven-day rate per 100,000 population of 613.5, compared with 280.8 for the Highland Council area as a whole.
Wick North had a seven-day rate per 100,000 population of 613.5, compared with 280.8 for the Highland Council area as a whole.

There were at least 68 positive tests for Covid-19 in Caithness during the latest seven-day period recorded by Public Health Scotland.

The neighbourhood with the highest number of cases in the county was Wick North, with 21 – giving it a seven-day rate per 100,000 population of 613.5, compared with 280.8 for the Highland local authority area as a whole.

The figures were based on people tested from October 16-22.

Public Health Scotland's interactive dashboard has a map giving the number of positive cases in individual neighbourhoods, seven of which are in Caithness.

It shows that in the most recent seven-day spell there were 15 positive cases in Wick North, 11 in Caithness North West and seven each in Caithness South, Caithness North East and Thurso West.

If a neighbourhood has fewer than three positive cases, the number is presented as 0-2 "to help protect patient confidentiality". The county's other neighbourhood – Thurso East – came into this category based on tests from October 16-22, meaning there could have been zero, one or two positive cases.

There were 11 cases in the Sutherland South neighbourhood, eight in Sutherland East and seven in Sutherland North and West.

The neighbourhood with the highest seven-day rate per 100,000 population was Inverness Drummond (806.2), with 28 positive cases.

Public Health Scotland reported 661 positive cases in the Highland local authority area during the seven-day period.

Last week, when Wick was reporting the highest infection rates in the region, NHS Highland's director of public health Dr Tim Allison urged the public to minimise close contact with others to limit further spread of the virus.

He said: "There is still a high level of transmission of Covid-19 within the Highlands and minimising spread remains vitally important. It is important that we remain vigilant for symptoms."

The Jabbernaut mobile testing unit.
The Jabbernaut mobile testing unit.

Meanwhile, rapid Covid-19 community testing is available at the riverside car park in Wick this week. Highland Council and NHS Highland are delivering community testing to help people become confident in using lateral flow device (LFD) test kits.

Wick has recently been experiencing high case rates of the virus, but it has been stated that this deployment is not due to any particular outbreak.

The Jabbernaut mobile testing unit will be available for drop-in LFD testing for anyone without symptoms on the following days and times:

  • Tuesday, October 26: 8am-4pm
  • Wednesday, October 27: 8am-4pm
  • Thursday, October 28: 8am-4pm
  • Friday, October 29: 8am-noon

Those who attend the Covid-19 mobile clinics will have the opportunity to enter a free monthly draw to win an Amazon Kindle e-reader after completing an exit survey.

The test uses the LFD kits and is easy to administer. The process of registration and testing takes approximately 10 minutes, and results are usually sent within an hour, though may occasionally take up to 24 hours.

Dr Allison said: "Many people who have coronavirus have no symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising. By expanding community testing we will be able to identify more cases giving us a better chance of stopping Covid-19 from spreading.

"Testing for those without symptoms, asymptomatic testing, will help us to identify those who are positive but do not have symptoms. We can then advise them to self-isolate and therefore prevent spread.

"Anyone that tests positive with an LFD needs to get a confirmatory PCR test. More testing helps to show us how the virus is spread and will help us reduce risk."


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