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Arran it to get its own COVID-19 testing station.
Plans are well advanced for the centre, which will be in Brodick. It should be ready to open in mid-June, with capacity increasing by the end of the month.
A single, locally-led system will hopefully mean quicker testing and response to positive tests.
People will be able to phone a local number to ask about booking a test, final details of which are being hammered out and will appear in the Banner next week.
Dr Greg Hamill, Arran clinical lead, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, told the Banner: ‘The Test and Protect system is what we hope will support the easing of the lockdown and help Arran to safely open up. There is a slightly different approach to this on Arran than elsewhere and we are implementing testing and contact tracing by local teams – as we have been doing to date, but expanding access to testing to anyone who has possible symptoms and training more people locally to do contact tracing. This work is in tandem with the NHS Ayrshire & Arran Public Health team and the systems and standards will tie in with the national approach.’
As a result, people should not be confused by the advice given in some Government adverts on how to access testing through the national online system which is for large mainland centres no-one on Arran will be able to access.
On the general situation, Dr Hamill continued: ‘We are continuing to see people with possible COVID symptoms and admit some to hospital but, fortunately, still no recent positive results – for more than six weeks now. Cases in Ayrshire continue to fall. There are nine people with a positive test in Crosshouse and Ayr hospitals today, with no patients in intensive care at present.
‘It is such a different island than we are all used to in a normal June. While most services see a surge in activity in winter, the peak on Arran predictably follows an inverse pattern . Compared to the quietest months, there are usually double the number of people presenting to A&E at this time of year – not this year. That said, it is a very different working environment and there are a lot of challenges affecting all our essential services, from care at home and social work to our residential homes and the GP practice. Many emergency presentations continue as normal and people will have seen the familiar helicopters in and out. There are around 150 emergency helicopter transfers off Arran each year.
‘Like everyone else, our eyes are on future months and what that will mean for the people of Arran and cases of coronavirus on the island. Social distancing advice is going to be with us for some time and the detail of how that will affect schools, businesses and public transport is starting to become clearer.’
Dr Greg Hamill 01_B25hamill01