#COVID Cluster In The West Mainland Involves Several School Children.

The rise in Covid cases including those involving School Pupils has prompted Orkney Islands Council and the Orkney Health Board to issue to following joint statement:


NHS Orkney Public Health and Orkney Islands Council are working closely to contain a COVID cluster in the West Mainland that involves several school children.

As in all situations like this, the school that has been impacted, Stromness Academy, has sent out “warn and inform letters” to parents and staff advising them on the situation. The school remains open, however, the 9 who have been identified as PCR positive up to Wednesday afternoon, are isolating and PCR testing of contacts is underway.

So far 47 people are self-isolating because they are contacts of the COVID-positive cases.

NHS Orkney Public Health Consultant Sara Lewis said the cluster was inevitable with the easing of restrictions.

“Situations like this are happening across the country and we are working to contain the situation. What we need now is for the community to work with us by watching for symptoms, doing their lateral flow tests and, for those who haven’t been vaccinated, to come forward and get their jab.”

School staff and secondary students are asked to continue carrying out their twice-weekly lateral flow tests and registering their results. These tests are available from schools, or can be collected at Boots the Chemist, Sutherlands in Stromness and Kirkwall and can be ordered online.

Anyone who has a positive lateral flow test must book a PCR test through the Covid Assessment Centre and isolate until they receive their result. Should you have symptoms including a new cough, temperature and loss of taste and smell you and your family should immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by contacting the Covid Assessment Centre on 01856888211.

The CAC opens at 7.45am and closes at 6pm (Mon-Fri).

After a positive LFT you must isolate until your PCR test confirms you are negative. If your PCR is positive there will be isolation protocols that you will have to follow the NHS Orkney team will help folk every step of the way.

The Council’s Executive Director of Education, Leisure and Housing, James Wylie, said:

“Following discussions with Public Health, and following the appropriate guidelines, the school will remain open, and staff will continue to provide support for pupils attending at school and for those who are self-isolating. Pupils having to self-isolate for ten days will be encouraged to continue with appropriate work at home relevant to their current studies. Public Health and Education Services have established a pattern of daily meetings to ensure that the situation is reviewed in real time.

“We would like to reassure everyone that we are taking all the steps we can to ensure the safety of pupils and staff while in the school. If anyone is experiencing any symptoms, then they must stay at home and follow NHS guidance.

“As schools returned after the summer holidays, with folk heading off and visitors coming to Orkney, it was anticipated there would be a rise in the number of cases. Thankfully, it remains relatively low in Orkney but, as has been shown, clusters such as these can occur at any time.

“We would stress that it is vital for secondary pupils and all staff to continue participating in the twice-weekly testing, to log the results online and for everyone else in the community to stick to the guidance of wearing face coverings when inside, keeping the required distance from others and to maintain handwashing and sanitizing.”

Related article: 13 New #Covid Cases in Orkney

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4 replies »

  1. I was worrying. I’d seen the totals for Orkney of 6 on one day, then 13 on the next day. I was resenting possibly needing to stay at home even longer because other people are behaving foolishly/selfishly and governments are allowing them to do so.

    Then, on the news I saw a piece about a school in Northern Ireland with the Headmaster standing in an empty classroom which should have been filled with children. There had been a positive Covid case and the school had to contact over 400 parents asking them to make sure that their children were tested.

    And I thought – what have I got to gripe about? OK – I need to stay home, no meals or nights out, no visits to Kirkwall or Stromness. I’m not someone who trained and went into teaching, to find myself contacting parents to ask them to have their child tested for Covid. And I’m not a parent receiving a message from the school, saying that one of my child’s school mates/friends has tested Positive, and so my child could have been exposed to infection and has to be tested too.
    What have I got to gripe about? So, I decided to try not to resent staying home and not resent the reasons why. To try to take it as it comes, deal with what life is giving us now, as best I can.

    But I will ask – why were the children, either in Northern Ireland or Orkney, back in school? Why did our world open up as it did, before it was ready to?

    One solution could be parents to go back to home schooling – might be difficult but – what matters most, your child’s health or your child’s academic achievement? Or ….you getting back to work?

    One more thing – why is the school responsible for contacting the parents? And how are they supposed to know if the parents do actually have their children tested? Shouldn’t this job be under a separate, possibly government body?

    I’m trying not to be resentful, but I am still angry.

  2. “As schools returned after the summer holidays, with folk heading off and visitors coming to Orkney, it was anticipated there would be a rise in the number of cases. Thankfully, it remains relatively low in Orkney but, as has been shown, clusters such as these can occur at any time.”

    These are not just ‘cases’ – these are people!!! How can he be so off-hand about it?

    Prevention would be better than discovery after infection.

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