Islands health boss confirms gatherings on Barra broke the restrictive level three rules

The chief executive of NHS Western Isles confirmed to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme today, that the Test and Protect system has identified gatherings related to the Barra Covid cluster which broke the strict level three restrictions which were in force at the time.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 8:34 pm
NHS Western Isles chief executive, Gordon Jamieson

Gordon Jamieson, also confirmed that health officials identified travel from the mainland after an outbreak on the island had been publicised and which they were trying to stop from spreading.

Mr Jamieson said: “Our Test and Protect system has been active all the way through and it is fair to say on Barra, there has been some mainland travel, which of course has only to be essential travel.

“We do know from the Test and Protect system that there have been some gatherings on Barra over the last few weeks that were outwith the Level 3 restrictions.

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“This is a rapidly developing outbreak for us and, in terms of the proportion of the population now affected, that is significant.

“The imperative to contain and suppress it couldn’t be higher.

“The system on Barra with the health and social care system is mobile and therefore there is a fragility within that.

“However, we have got a number of measures in place and that we have already put into motion to support those people who become progressively ill and indeed a small number of patients have been transferred to other hospitals already.”

Now the health board are attempting to place a safety net around the island’s small hospital and care home facility, which only has five medical beds available. Thus far two cases have been airlifted to an acute emergency hospital facility.

He added: “Barra has a care home with 10 places in it and the hospital with five and they are in the same building.

“We are at the moment in a position where we are protecting that facility.

“We don’t have any plans to introduce those patients who need hospital care into that hospital simply because it is small, it is co-located with the home, and whilst all of the staff and care home residents since have been vaccinated, it is more a question about when peoples health starts to deteriorate with Covid-19, it is best that they are initially supported on Barra but they are quickly recognised and moved off the island.”

As of last night’s daily broadcast by Jamieson, Thursday saw no new cases recorded on the island.