Covid testing in the Western Isles is to be stepped up with the arrival of a mobile testing unit.
NHS Western Isles will be offering extra testing facilities when the unit arrives from the mainland.
The unit, which will be in operation from tomorrow, will be staffed by Scottish Ambulance Service personnel offering tests by appointment.
It comes as daily figures, released by the Scottish Government, indicated a recent incline in positive cases across the region.
A Western Isles spokesman said: “The mobile testing unit will help relieve current pressure in the local testing and laboratory services, arising from an unprecedented increase in test requests on Lewis, resulting from rising Covid case numbers.
“There is, at present, no increased demand for testing on other islands.”
Individuals taking a test at the unit will be sent their results directly via text or email.
NHS Western Isles Test and Protect staff will then follow up on any positive tests with a phone call to carry our contacting tracing and provide additional advice.
High priority tests – including pre-operative hospital patients, care home residents and staff, and those who are symptomatic and ‘high risk’ – will continue to be tested via the current testing routes, through to the local laboratory.
Test requests from Uist, Barra and Harris will also continue to be managed through the established local process.
Appreciation for the communities patience
Island health officials thanked the public for their patience despite enduring a series of delays in obtaining a Covid test.
The spokesman added: “NHS Western Isles would like to thank our local communities for their patience in particular over the past week as there have been unfortunate delays in accessing testing and in receiving test results, as a result of the recent significant demand.
“We appreciate your understanding and apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused to individuals.
“The additional capacity provided by the mobile testing unit will help speed up both test requests and the provision of test results.”
Individuals can book a Covid test by calling the 01851 601 151 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org