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Could people please help to shield health and social care workers from Covid-19 by avoiding needless contacts – that was the plea last night from NHS Western Isles as cases and self-isolations spread further in the Western Isles. 

The mass outbreak at Dun Berisay Care Home in Balmerino Drive, Stornoway, now includes a further 3 cases, bringing the total to 22.  

Since the pandemic began 18 months ago, there have been 405 cases in total across the Western isles so the new outbreak is more than 5% of the overall total and is the biggest since the Lewis community outbreak in February and March

The latest update from NHSWI Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson last night (Thursday July 29) said there were a total of 8 new cases.

Apart from the 3 in Dun Berisay, there were another 2 in Lewis linked to an existing cluster, 2 in Benbecula linked to an existing cluster and 1 case where he did not have details of the location.

Mr Jamieson said: "We would tonight ask for specific help to protect our health and social care workers.

"If you or a family member receives care in your home, please ensure that family and friends avoid visiting your home at the time that the care is scheduled.

"This will help reduce numbers of contacts and will help prevent spread of the virus to our essential workers. Thank you.

Meanwhile Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced plans for a thank-you cèilidh for staff and residents at Dun Berisay Care Home.

Local musicians, who performed online throughout the COVID Lockdown, are preparing a special cèilidh for the Care Home in a show of solidarity.

Jack Libby, Head of Community Care at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “This has been a very challenging time for employees, residents and their families.

"I can only express admiration for the fortitude shown by all in coping.

"The cèilidh is a small but significant way of saying we’re thinking of you as you all face this difficult time.”

The Chief Executive of CnES, Mr Malcolm Burr, has written to all those working at Dun Berisay to say thank you.

The letter states: "The past week has been an extremely anxious time for you all as you wait for test results and continue to care for the residents at Dun Berisay.

"It is important to remember at times like this that we have all been preparing for COVID for over a year now and we can be assured by all the infection prevention measures and the vaccination programme you have had in place and supported throughout that period.

"But with restrictions throughout society easing, it is inevitable that some cases of COVID will appear from time to time in all sectors.

"Our thoughts are with colleagues, residents and their families affected by COVID or who are having to isolate as a result or precaution. It is credit to you all that by taking the correct measures we have been able to minimise transmission and for that we are all extremely grateful."

Visiting remains suspended at Dun Berisay.  An Incident Management Team has been formed to help support Dun Berisay staff, residents and residents’ families. 

Teams from NHS Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Public Health Scotland are supporting the care home with their arrangements for infection prevention and control to help prevent spread of the infection. 

Several hundred individuals have been identified as close contacts of recent positive cases across the Islands and have been required to self-isolate to help prevent further spread of the virus.   

The Scottish summary for 29 July 2021 showed a further drop in the proportion of positive cases detected by the testing régime. 

  • 1,398 new cases of COVID-19 reported
  • 33,679 new tests for COVID-19 reported results
  • 4.6% of these were positive
  • 13 new reported deaths of people who have tested positive
  • 490 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 60 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 4,005,421 people have received the first dose of a Covid vaccination
  • 3,145,017 have received the second dose of a Covid vaccination