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NHS Grampian dealing with ‘two pandemics’ as cases of the Delta variant re-emerge

Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence for NHS Grampian said frontline workers have seen a return of the Delta variant in hospital admissions over the last week.
Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence for NHS Grampian said frontline workers have seen a return of the Delta variant in hospital admissions over the last week.

NHS Grampian officials claim they are dealing with a double pandemic as cases of Delta emerge once more.

Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence for NHS Grampian said frontline workers have seen a return of the variant in hospital admissions over the last week.

It comes as Scotland recorded its highest rate of Covid since the start of the pandemic, with 15,849 positive cases confirmed yesterday.

Ms Evans admitted there is likely to be a further surge in cases following household mixing over the festive period.

‘We are certainly seeing the effects of two pandemics’

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland (GMS), she said: “The interesting thing we are watching, certainly in my own board area and I don’t think this bears out across Scotland, is that recently we have seen a rise in Delta cases again.

“We are certainly seeing the effects of two pandemics and our admissions into hospital have mainly been for Delta in the last week so we are watching lots of different things at the moment.”

Ms Evans said it was too early to determine the rate of hospitalisations with confidence.

However, she said the turnaround for admitted patients is improving, showing the Omicron may be less severe.

She added: “Certainly the need for ICU seems to be much less which is great news and those numbers are very stable. Its early days to be able to track hospitalisations with confidence.

“We are finding that a lot of people who are admitted, are admitted and discharged quite quickly and that gives you some hope that people’s illnesses is less severe. They don’t need to be staying as long in hospital.”

Testing capacity

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the country’s Covid testing scheme is under “significant pressure”.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the country’s Covid testing scheme is under “significant pressure” following calls for Scots to test before mixing with others.

However, there has been difficulties accessing lateral flow testing kits, with pharmacies warning that supplies for people to collect are becoming “patchy”.

The PCR testing system has also been hit in recent days, although this morning appointments appear available in Aberdeen, Ellon and Huntly.

Mr Yousaf said measures are being taken to prioritise essential workers to help keep the economy ticking over.

He said: “The testing machine is undoubtedly under significant, significant pressure and that’s why we have had to prioritise essential workers. We don’t have an infinite capacity when it come to testing so when we reach that capacity its important that we prioritise those essential workers.

“Yes, you may have to wait a little bit longer than you would pre-Omicron for a test but please keep trying because new slots become available throughout the day.”

Calm before the storm

Ms Evans admitted the figures could rise further as the impact of Christmas mixing becomes evident.

Ms Evans said: “I know the numbers are a little bit erratic at the moment. Its quite difficult to look at case numbers and have a true sense of a trend or how steep that curve may be simply because of the issues to do with testing and reporting but we haven’t yet seen the effects of the Christmas mixing either.

“I think it is true when the first minister yesterday said that she expects the case numbers to continue to rise in the coming days and week and I feel sure certainly that this is the case.”

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