The NHS’s mass testing programme, which it hopes will help break the cycle of transmission of Covid-19, is now well under way across the north-east.
NHS Grampian said that since the launch of the Test and Protect initiative on Thursday, more than 1,000 tests for the virus have been carried out across the region.
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 is being asked to isolate and book a test as soon as possible.
Symptoms of the virus can include a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss or change in taste or smell.
The health board also confirmed that 180 people have thus far been trained by NHS Grampian as contact tracers – a role the region’s director of public health Susan Webb has described as vital in the fight.
Contact tracers have been recruited and trained over the last few weeks from within the NHS and from across a host of public sector organisations including Aberdeen City, Moray and Aberdeenshire Councils and Grampian Housing Association.
Mrs Webb said: “We really need everyone to play their part if we are to continue to slow the spread of this virus, and the numbers coming forward to work with us as contact tracers from across the public sector over the last few weeks has been a huge boost.
“Contact tracers are absolutely vital – they are our first line of defence as a community and are responsible for quickly identifying the close contacts of anyone who tests positive, and then working with those people to help them isolate as matter of urgency.”
Those who are defined as close contacts will be asked to isolate for 14 days to keep their community and loved ones safe.
“There is no doubt that for many people the questions the team need to ask will seem unusual and a little intrusive,” said Mrs Webb.
“That includes things about where a person has been, who they’ve been in contact with recently and details on how long.
“We wouldn’t be asking these questions if it wasn’t essential, and accurate, timely responses will undoubtedly help save lives.
“I’d also like to reassure people that, as with everything the NHS does, your answers are completely confidential.
“No one is told who the infected person is without their consent.”
She added: “We are now at one of the most dangerous points in the response to the pandemic and we need people’s support to continue.”
Tests can be booked by calling 0800 028 2816 or online at www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.