On the same day Orkney recorded its highest ever daily spike in coronavirus cases, the local health authority’s director of public health delivered some stark warnings about the winter ahead.
Yesterday, NHS Orkney confirmed 55 new cases of the virus bringing the county’s weekly total to 91 infections over the previous seven days.
Interim chief executive Michael Dickson said he expects the trend of higher numbers to continue.
Cases due to family gatherings, travel and social events
NHS Orkney’s board also met yesterday, where director of public health Louise Wilson said the increase of Covid-19 cases experienced locally are thought to be down to extended family clusters, people travelling and social events.
She also asked for people to cooperate with contract tracing.
She said: “If the test and protect team do contact you please, please cooperate with us. Please give us the information that we’re asking for.
“Across Scotland, we’ve noticed that, recently, people haven’t been so forthcoming and willing to engage. But this is to help protect you, your family, your loved ones, and our community.
“So if you get that call please pick up the phone and speak with the team.”
Managing Covid and the flu ‘complex’
Dr Wilson also described managing both the Covid-19 and flu vaccination programmes as “complex” and “extremely challenging.”
She said, while there are some flu cases across the county, it hasn’t fully hit yet and what many are experiencing at the moment are the normal respiratory winter viruses.
Dr Wilson said these viruses may be hitting people particularly hard this year as they’re not as used to them as they may have been in the past.
She added: “Because of all the disruptions across the world, with the pandemic, it’s really unclear what the flu will look like this winter.
“But there is a real concern that the flu might hit the northern hemisphere particularly badly because of the behaviour of folk under the pandemic – they could be really quite vulnerable.”