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Inverness test centre reopens as reminders are issued on Barra

The Covid test centre in the Highland Council car park in Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
The Covid test centre in the Highland Council car park in Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.

An Inverness Covid testing centre reopened today after being the subject of a coronavirus outbreak.

Operated by Mitie on behalf of the UK Government, the site based at Highland Council headquarters on Glenurquhart Road, closed on Saturday night after six cases were recorded among the workforce.

Meanwhile on the isle of Barra, where Covid has appeared for the first time, NHS Western Isles confirmed 40 people were self isolating after three islanders tested positive this week.

The Health and Safety Executive said it was aware of the situation at the Inverness test centre. A spokeswoman said: “HSE are aware of a number of cases being reported at this location and are liaising with Highland Council.”

A spokeswoman for Mitie said the centre had been deep cleaned following an investigation by the firm and NHS Highland.

The company said staff were receiving additional training and one of the two teams are now self isolating.

A spokeswoman for Mitie said: “Following a small number of employees testing positive for Covid-19, the decision was made to close the test centre in line with health and safety procedures. Prior to this closure, Test and Trace guidance was followed and the site was deep cleaned.

“The safety of our employees and members of the public is our utmost priority. Therefore, as a precaution, all colleagues in this team are now self-isolating, and every employee on site is receiving additional training on PPE, social distancing and Test and Trace procedure.”

The site first opened in October.

On Barra the local health board said Test and Protect actions are well underway and a number of close contacts have been required to self isolate.

Two people have been hospitalised as a result, with one patient being taken to the mainland.

Of the three cases so far, two are clearly linked and calls are being made for islanders to be particularly vigilant and immediately self isolate if they have any symptoms.

NHS Western Isles chief executive Gordon Jamieson said: “Our staff are working extremely hard in terms of Test and Protect, and important advice has been provided to all close contacts of the three cases identified. If we are to prevent the spread of this virus through Barra, everyone must play their part and ensure they follow the rules and strictly avoid any unnecessary risks. Covid-19 thrives on complacency.

“In particular we are asking that everyone ensures they do not meet anyone who is not in their household within their home. Also, non essential travel must be avoided.

“These cases on Barra have given us cause for serious concern, given that two individuals have required hospitalisation, and there are a number of close contacts already identified. We must all work together to ensure any spread of the virus is suppressed.”

The health board issued an important reminder to the population of Barra to ensure that all members of the community are aware of and follow protection Level 3 laws.

It said it was particularly important that members of different households do not mix with each other in homes.

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