With Orkney now having its first confirmed test for COVID 19, coronavirus, it is more important than ever for the public to realise how infectious this virus is.
We wish the person a speedy recovery and thoughts are with them and family members.
Unfortunately there are still shortages of the essential PPE (personal protection equipment) for front line workers across the Highlands and Islands.
NHS workers from the front lines across the area have reported that Hospitals and clinics are having to ration out their PPE equipment, such as masks, as there is not enough to go around, or use equipment which is seriously out of date, leaving NHS workers having to conduct face to face appointments with no masks. This, despite some of these same workers falling into the vulnerability categories laid out by the UK and Scottish Governments.
Local MSP David Stewart, Labour, said:
“I have been told that 28% of staff are off in one Health board area and I expect that this will be reflected across the boards.
“It is a matter of urgency that those on the COVID 19 frontline are protected, not least because many of them are vulnerable and they are working continuously in potentially hazardous situations, but also because in a situation like this our lives depend on how many staff are available and well enough to work.
“I am concerned that because numbers in the Highlands and Islands are relatively low at the moment, with the exception of Shetland which has the highest percentage of cases, these areas are being forgotten about and not adequately provided for.
“But these are areas that, when the virus does hit, the effects could be catastrophic. There are less resources, less ICU’s, less intensive care trained staff and a high proportion of the population has underlying health conditions or are elderly.”