For Western Isles residents who develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection, both a local phoneline (01851 601 151) and online form are now available to help them book a test, NHS Western Isles announced yesterday evening (Friday June 5).

The Scottish Government’s Test and Protect scheme was launched last week and is based on testing for anyone over five years of age who has symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell.

In response to the national scheme, NHS Western Isles has expanded access to testing using mainland laboratory services.  Local testing arrangements remain in place for specific eligible groups such as people admitted to hospital and health, social care and emergency services workers.

Any Western Isles resident with symptoms can book a test via the local phoneline: 01851 601 151. The phoneline will be staffed from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday with an answering machine available outwith those hours.

An online booking form is now also available from the NHS Western Isles Coronavirus website at: https://www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot/ ‘Public & Carers’, ‘Facts & Support’, ‘COVID-19 Testing’ (directly at: https://www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot/?page_id=2195) or by visiting NHS Inform.

As part of Test and Protect, people with symptoms will be advised to self-isolate until results are available.  Should a test show that the virus is present, NHS Western Isles will ask the individual to identify any people at increased risk of exposure to the virus through close contact with them.

These contacts will then be telephoned and have an individualised discussion about what they need to do to break the chain of transmission of the virus, and what assistance is available to help them do this.