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NHS Grampian forced to issue advice after claims Covid tests ‘fooled’ by tomato sauce

Covid test centre.
Covid test centre.

NHS Grampian has been forced to issue a clarification following claims that Lateral Flow Devices could be “fooled” using “condiments”.

The unusual advice comes amid surging Covid cases the Moray.

Cases in the region have escalated over the last few weeks, with an incident management team (IMT) being launched to bring the virus back under control.

There are now has 81.4 cases per 100,000 area, meaning it is the worst in Scotland.

NHS Grampian posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon in an attempt to debunk bizarre claim that the rising Covid case numbers were due to people “fooling” the tests.

They said: “We can’t quite believe we have to say this, but here goes: rising case numbers in Moray are not the result of people ‘fooling’ Lateral Flow Devices with tomato ketchup (or any other condiment for that matter).

“Set aside the rumours and hearsay”

They continued: “A positive Lateral Flow Device test is always followed up with a PCR test to confirm the result.

“This is the gold standard of testing. 90% of the positive LFD tests in Moray have been confirmed as positive by PCR testing.

Please set aside the rumours and hearsay. The situation in Moray is real and it is serious.

“We are seeing people requiring hospital treatment as a result of COVID-19 infection.

“We need people to #ProtectMoray, stick to the guidelines, and take up the expanded testing offer.”

They added: “To everyone in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, remember this virus can go wherever it wants and certainly doesn’t respect local authority boundaries.

“Take care of yourselves, take care of your community, and let’s keep going.”

Chris Littlejohn, deputy director of public health at NHS Grampian and chairman for the IMT

Rising Covid levels

On Thursday, Chris Littlejohn, deputy director of public health at NHS Grampian and chairman for the IMT revealed towns such as Lossiemouth, Keith and Buckie were also recording rising Covid levels.

He said: “In Moray, we are now seeing uncontrolled, sustained community transmission, current restrictions not are containing it, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.

“We are seeing hospitalisations from this – including in the under 50s – and we will see deaths if the situation is not brought under control.

We are urging everyone to #ProtectMoray and get tested, even if they have no symptoms.”

Door-to-door testing is being considered

Door-to-door testing could be rolled out

Door-to-door Covid testing in Elgin is being considered by the IMT, with discussions ongoing about what this would look like.

In England, this was done back in February to stamp out the South African variant that was flown into the country.

It was undertaken in eight areas of England where the 105 cases were discovered, which including Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire.

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