The Scottish Government has updated its Testing Strategy. All people contact traced and asked to isolate are also requested to take a Covid19 test whether or not they have symptoms.
The update comes as more information is published on clusters occurring across different parts of Scotland.
In Orkney the 9 positive cases tested recently all came from one fishing vessel. NHS Orkney stated on 17th of August:
“Nine positive Covid-19 cases are now linked to the fishing vessel cluster in Orkney – up three from Friday. The new cases are all crew members from the boat, and all have been self-isolating.
NHS Orkney Director of Public Health Louise Wilson confirmed in the Incident Management Team meeting today that contact tracing in Orkney was now complete and that all those at risk had been spoken to.”
There were 26 new cases in Scotland on Monday with 13 of those in the Grampian cluster. 207 of the 380 cases in the Grampian Health Board area since the 26th of July are linked to Aberdeen pubs.
Clusters have also emerged in Coatbridge and North East Glasgow. Schools are involved in that outbreak.
And 4 new positive cases have been confirmed at the 2 Sisters Food Processing Plant in Coupar Angus.
This highly infectious virus moves rapidly. From the sharp rise in positive cases in Scotland it can be seen how quickly it can spread.
There have been 0 recorded deaths again in Scotland (correct up to 17th of August) , however, this virus can have life changing future health issues for people who catch it.
Scotland adapting its testing strategy is to gear it up for more tests being done as we move about more and as winter weather heads in.
Testing is only part of the process but it is an extremely important one and the document lays out when testing occurs and why.
The responsibility lies not only with government and the NHS but with ourselves. By observing the simple rules of FACTS we can limit the transmission of this virus.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
By the time the Scottish Government updated and published its new strategy… it may already need an overhaul. So far they define the infectious period as ‘from 48 hours prior to and 10
days after the confirmed case’s symptom onset, or date a positive test was taken if
asymptomatic’ (https://hpspubsrepo.blob.core.windows.net/hps-website/nss/3082/documents/1_covid-19-contact-tracing-guidance-hpt.pdf). And this definition is the basis for the testing regime. However, this remains based on previous studies and does not take note that a recent reanalysis of data found errors in interpretation and the infectious period could well be much longer (https://smw.ch/article/doi/smw.2020.20336) . Hence, the 48 hours before symptom onset or positive test result may have to be (at least) doubled. This has implications… in relation to the increasing workload for contact tracing and the increasing number of people who may have to go into self-isolation and therefore not be able to work. It also has implications for a financially limited testing capacity…
On the other hand: if these implications are not accepted and for various reasons a reluctance to widen the scope of the testing regime persists, the long-term consequences for public health, economy and society could well be more costly than robust action now.
In times of a pandemic swift action is needed. By the time the Scottish Government finally manages to publish new strategies – very similar to ‘promises’ and ‘aspirations’ south of the border – these may resemble plans (at best) and wishlists (at worst). If governments do not keep up-to-date in such a – still evolving – situation and flexibly adapt their approaches on a daily basis, they will never get it completely under control. And the longer it takes, the longer lasting any impacts will be.