MP welcomes move to Test, Trace, Isolate and Support in Western Isles
The principals of the programme are:
Test people in the community who have symptoms for 48 to 72 hours consistent of COVID-19, to identify cases of infection
Contact trace to identify close contacts of the case who may have had the disease transmitted to them
Isolate cases for seven days and contacts for 14 days, so that if they do develop the disease, there is less risk that they will pass it on to others.
Support these people to remain in self-isolation, which may happen more than once if they have contact with another person who becomes a case.
In making the announcement NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, explained: “It is inevitable that lockdown will come to an end at some point in the future and in the Western Isles, we need to ensure we are well placed to manage the impact of such release.
“This is where the new approach of Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support comes in, as our method to combat COVID-19.
“The Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support approach will be most effective when levels of infection are low and stay low, as is currently the case in the Western Isles.
“The success of this approach relies on all of us knowing and agreeing what to do if we have symptoms, and being prepared to self-isolate when advised to do so.”
Mr MacNeil said of the start of the programme this week: “This is a huge leap forward, it should and could have been done weeks ago.
“Perhaps now the health authorities should go back and look around the people who tested positive to check their contacts aren’t asymptomatic, it would be a good use of capacity and at the very least training meantime.
“We shouldn’t wait until the next round of positive cases when we have the capacity to do something.”
He continued: “I have for weeks been calling for ‘Test, Trace, Isolate’ to start in the islands and various excuses were fielded as to why not, it has been a struggle, but I am glad to see that this strategy has now started.
“This could determine if the islands are Covid19 free or not and whether lockdown could be lifted internally, or not.
“Testing is the only way to determine the truth of all that.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you can check with NHS Inform what to do. If it is an emergency, dial 999 and tell the operator you may have COVID-19.
For further advice you should continue to contact NHS 24 on 111 who will advise you on how to access testing, if this is appropriate.