Regular Testing Of Care Workers Must Be A Priority

Although the number of people dying from Covid-19 in Scotland continues to decline, as of 31st of May, 3,911 people have been registered with the virus mentioned on the death certificate. These are the weekly published figures by the National Register of Scotland (NRS).

Most people in Scotland continue to observe the limitations of lockdown but  a significant minority have chosen to travel far outwith their local area to visit beauty spots or for non-essential journeys.

Link:  “Stick to the rules” Warning as Crowds Flock to Scotland’s Beauty Spots

Care homes again are where the majority of deaths are occurring at 52% of all Covid related deaths.

Download: covid deaths report week 22 NRS 31st of May 2020

Deaths in Care Homes in Scotland and the lack of testing of workers was raised by both main opposition leaders in the Scottish Parliament , Jackson Carlaw (Conservative) and Richard Leonard (Labour) at First Ministers Questions on Wednesday 3rd of June.

Test and Protect NHS Scotland Covid19 logoThe uptake of tests in Scotland’s Test and Protect strategy has been  extremely poor with some Health Boards not permitting the testing of front line workers who are not symptomatic.

Localised testing figures have also still not been made available – a question LibDem MSP Liam McArthur has raised in the Parliament.

After his latest exchange of questions and answers, Liam McArthur said:

“With test and protect already up and running and some restrictions now being eased, it is even more critical that the public are equipped with accurate, reliable and timely information so that they can make informed decisions going forward.

“The number of confirmed Covid cases and Covid related deaths are already published daily, but the public are still being left in the dark about the level of testing taking place.  Without these figures, it is impossible for anyone to make sense of what is happening on the ground.

“Being open and transparent about testing numbers is crucial to building public trust and confidence which, ultimately, is a key component in keeping our communities safe as we begin to ease restrictions over time.  The First Minister not only agreed with me this point but also gave an assurance that Ministers would now consider how to make this data available.

“The Health Secretary has now provided her own assurance that the information will be available shortly. This needs to happen now, however, as the continued delays are doing nothing to help build public confidence at a time when people are desperately looking for clarity ”.

Despite all these weeks of lockdown Orkney recorded a 8th case of Covid19 recently. There is no way the public can have any idea of how prevalent the virus is in the community but clearly a new case means it still is with us.

Covid19 31st of May deaths 2020 NRS

Deaths involving COVID-19 registered between weeks 1 and 22 (year to 31st May), 2020 by Health Board of residence, Scotland

What is extremely concerning is that deaths are continuing to occur in Care Homes from Covid19 despite all the measures put in place and the isolation of residents.

Deaths in Care Home 31st of May 2020 NRS

52% of deaths occurred in care homes in week 22, down from 54% in week 21 and 56% in week 20

The regular testing of care workers should be a priority. Citizens stuck to lockdown for weeks so that NHS testing labs could be made ready. Briefings by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, assured us that they would be. On June 2nd only  3,641 tests were carried out by NHS Scotland and 1,150 by drive through and mobile in the Regional Testing Centres in Scotland. This is not anywhere near enough to reassure the public, those shielding and anyone with a relative in a Care Home or who is a care worker.

And while we all do our part by continuing with physical distancing, personal hygiene , making essential journeys only and wearing of face coverings in public places it really is vital that any problems with delivering the Covid19 testing requirements needed in Scotland are sorted out without delay.

For excellent data this site is recommended: Scotland Coronavirus Tracker


Reporter: Fiona Grahame


3 replies »

  1. Perhaps better not to focus too much on the deaths. Suspected cases in care homes in Orkney have reached 17 by June 2nd, only to be found in NRS excel files. Since the weeks before these numbers were hidden behind an * there must have been an increase recently. With testing numbers not being published and such institutional suspected cases to be investigated by having to search other databases… the public is not fully informed about local disease patterns. Can you investigate?

    • We have had someone working on this for some time trying to get stats for Orkney . We’ll keep at it

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