Local News

Concern Grows Over Rising #Covid Numbers

Covid in the community

Samples from every health board area in Scotland are tested for traces of non-infective Covid-19 ribonucleic acid (RNA) and shared with public health partners so they can see where rates are increasing or decreasing.

Below are the figures for Orkney (area served by Kirkwall waste water) last updated on 10th of August 2023 which sees a massive surge in positive samples.

This means with so little testing being done and almost all restrictions lifted, Covid is very much still within our community and on the increase.

A reader to The Orkney News has alerted us to the fact that Covid is still a notifiable disease, however, with so little testing being done health and care professionals are unable to meet this statutory duty.

The guidance from Public Health Scotland also states that:

  • clusters of confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • unusually high levels of absence thought to be associated with COVID-19 – in other words, possible cases

Only in higher-risk settings is their a requirement to report outbreaks: prisons, Care Homes, Health Care Settings.

Although vaccination has been effective at protecting those who receive it, the numbers of people ending up in hospital due to the severity of Covid continues to rise. Figures are from Public Health Scotland published 24th August 2023

Published by the National Records of Scotland on 24th August 2023 are the weekly deaths.

The provisional total number of deaths registered in Scotland in week 33 of 2023 (14th August to 20th August was 1,095 (24 or 2% above the 5-year average).  There were 23 deaths mentioning COVID-19.

Those figures in more detail:

Deaths where Covid is included on the death certificate

  • Age 65 – 74 : 5 deaths, female
  • Age 75 – 84: 8 deaths: 4 female, 4 male
  • Age 85+ : 10 deaths, 5 female, 5 male

There were 4 deaths in Care Homes, 3 at Home/Non Institutional Setting, and 16 in Hospital.

graph of Covid deaths showing line starting to rise

Of the 23 deaths involving Covid, Covid was the main cause in 16 of them.

The table below shows the deaths for week 33 since the pandemic started in 2020

YearDeaths involving CovidDeaths where Covid was the underlying cause

There were 1,095 deaths due to all causes, an excess of 24 taken over a 5 year average. There were excess deaths in Cancer +2; Circulatory +1; Respiratory +22; and Other Causes +14.

graph showing excess deaths

Increasing numbers of patients in hospital with Covid has a knock on effect to the provision of other medical services, including delays in treatment and care. Excess deaths are continuing, a result of both the delay in treatment and the reluctance of those with conditions to seek help due to concerns over, the possibility of becoming infected with Covid. The removal of the requirement to wear face masks and other preventative measures in health care facilities has increased the anxiety for many people about contracting Covid Few places have adopted any measures for improved ventilation. As we head into the colder months these rising Covid numbers are concerning .

Fiona Grahame

2 replies »

  1. “Below are the figures for Orkney (area served by Kirkwall waste water) last updated on 10th of August 2023 which sees a massive surge in positive samples.”

    This isn’t surprising – take a look around you…….

  2. ‘Non-infective’ fragments… where waste water is treated and/or is held for a while this might apply but this would not necessarily alleviate all remaining concerns.
    Only roughly a third of the Orkney population is covered by the SEPA analysis. For the remaining population waste water ends up either in private septic tanks (still not all of them registered and presumably some in a state of disrepair thus releasing anything from pathogens to pharmaceutical residues into the environment) or is discharged by sea outfall.
    The latter means that raw sewage is being released without any treatment directly into the sea. In the isles, this is visible at low tide.

    The body of evidence in relation to transmission via fecal matter is still mostly limited to observational studies in hospital, to contaminated fomites, infections via fecal-oral route and so forth.
    Still, at least raw and untreated sewage may pose risks. In the case of rats, the determination whether they were infected by sewage and/or other means remains an open question (https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mbio.03621-22). Susceptibility of other mammals, including marine mammals (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598747/), could give rise to further concerns.

    Covid-19 should not become a ping pong ball passed back and forth between animals and humans.

    The best infection remains still the one which does not occur in the first place. For many reasons including the above.
    This can be achieved by a mix of measures, such as vaccinations, reasonable behaviour and some reasonable NPIs.
    It appears that the appetite in the wider population for one specific NPI, masks, despite their high potential to prevent infections (https://royalsociety.org/-/media/policy/projects/impact-non-pharmaceutical-interventions-on-covid-19-transmission/covid-19-examining-the-effectiveness-of-non-pharmaceutical-interventions-executive-summary.pdf), has more or less disapeared.

    This is unfurtunate, given that for most people wearing a mask is not a difficult task.

    But to remove mask requirements in health care settings is even worse. People are beginning to realise this, hence this petition is gaining traction… and so it should: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/636380

Leave a Reply