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Highland health chief issues Covid-19 plea as cases rise


By Alan Hendry

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A Highland health chief has urged anyone who has coronavirus symptoms to ensure they self-isolate and book a test.

The plea came from Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS Highland, against a backdrop of a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the health board region and across Scotland and the UK as a whole.

“We are seeing an increasing number of confirmed cases across the NHS Highland area," Dr Allison said. "Covid cases across the whole of NHS Highland have passed 600 since the start of the pandemic.

“While localised outbreaks of infection have been seen, it is mostly individual sporadic Covid cases or small clusters, such as in families, that we are seeing at the moment.

“We are learning and improving our processes for dealing with these cases at every opportunity but I am also making an appeal to everyone to help us in fighting this virus.

“If you have symptoms of Covid, please self-isolate and book a test. If you are confirmed as having Covid, we would ask you to continue to self-isolate for 10 days as per the national guidance.

“For close contacts of positive cases we would ask them to self-isolate for 14 days, even if you get tested and it is negative. It is important that you continue to self-isolate for that 14-day period.

“A negative test does not change the need to self-isolate if you are a close contact.”

Dr Allison added: “I want to thank everyone for all their hard efforts as we continue to fight this virus. Covid is still here and it is important that everyone continues to follow the national guidance to keep them and others safe.”

A spokesperson for the health board said: “Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should be tested. You can book a test for yourself, someone you care for, or a child in your care, but you only need to book a test if you have symptoms or you have been explicitly asked to get a test by our public health team.

“Tests may also be recommended in certain other circumstances, including some staff groups such as care home workers.”

A test can be booked by calling 0800 028 2816 or visiting the NHS Inform website .You do not need to call NHS 24 to organise a test.

In order to be tested you should be displaying symptoms such as new, continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste. Testing should also be arranged in the first three days of symptoms appearing, although testing is effective until day five.

The health board is urging the public to follow the five rules highlighted in the FACTS campaign:

  • Face coverings in enclosed spaces
  • Avoid crowded places indoors or outdoors
  • Clean your hands regularly and remember to clean hard surfaces that you might be touching
  • Two-metre physical distancing remains in place
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have any of the symptoms of Covid19 – a cough, a temperature, or a loss of, or change in your sense of taste or smell

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