Health warning as Covid cases remain high on Arran

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Health bosses have said for the first time that Covid cases on Arran are high and are urging everyone of the need to live safely and follow Scottish government guidance.

Latest official figures show there are 67 positive confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the island – the highest ever official figure.

Businesses are seeing high absences with positive cases and close contacts self-isolating and there are known to be cases at schools on the island, although North Ayrshire Council has refused to confirm this.

The warning came as the Scottish government relaxed restrictions on large outdoor events but restrictions on indoor events and hospitality venues will remain in place until at least January 24, when first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped to be able to lift them too.

In a statement NHS Ayrshire and Arran said this week: ‘Those living on Arran are being reminded that coronavirus hasn’t gone away and case numbers on the island remain high.’

Lynne McNiven, director of public health, explained: ‘The last two years have been really tough, and we all hoped that by now, life would be fully back to normal.

‘We’re not there yet, and so it is important that we live safely so that we can minimise the spread of Covid-19, and protect ourselves and our friends and families.

‘The vaccine is the best tool to do this. But there are other things you can do – for example, wear a face covering in public places; meet outside when you can; wash your hands regularly; take regular tests even if you don’t have symptoms; and if you do have symptoms, self-isolate and take a PCR test.’

If you haven’t yet had your first, second or booster vaccination, you can attend a drop-in clinic on Sunday January 16 from 9am to 1pm in Arran High School.

After this date, anyone who is newly eligible for the vaccine can call Arran Medical Group on 01770 600516 Monday to Friday from 2pm to 5pm to make an appointment.

This includes a first dose for those turning 12 years old; a second dose for those over 12 years (12 weeks after the first dose); or a booster vaccine for those turning 18 years old.

Testing helps to identify more cases of the virus and gives everyone a better chance of stopping it from spreading.

Even those who are fully vaccinated should take a lateral flow test (LFT) regularly – this means at least twice a week. If you are a key worker and must attend work, it is even more important to get tested regularly.

LFT kits can be picked up from the community pharmacy in Brodick, or by calling 119.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

To access PCR testing on Arran, call the testing centre number on 01770 601033 for an appointment. You can also call 119 to have a kit sent to your home.

Lynne McNiven added: ‘Vaccine and regular testing are vital to help us live safely. However, you should also think about the possible impact of socialising.

‘Consider the risk of each social situation and take steps where appropriate to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 by continuing to follow Scottish Government guidance. Gather in groups of no more than three households.

‘We know that as cases continue to rise, this puts even more pressure on our healthcare system, with more people becoming seriously ill. And so it is important that we all do our part and make safer choices.’