Public needs to be 'vigilant' as two Lothians care homes hit by Covid

Nicola Sturgeon has said an outbreak of coronavirus at two care homes in the Lothians proves that community transmission of the virus was rising, and warned against complacency by the general public.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 5:03 pm
Nicola Sturgeon and Prof Jason Leitch at the Covid briefing
Nicola Sturgeon and Prof Jason Leitch at the Covid briefing

The outbreaks at Redmill Care Home in West Lothian and Milford House in Edinburgh are being investigated after facing major Covid-19 outbreaks, resulting in several deaths and at least 82 infections.

At her daily Covid briefing, the First Minister said she would not comment on the specific outbreaks, but that a “range of measures” were being taken at all care homes “not least testing to stop the virus getting into care homes and then making sure there is very robust infection and prevention control”.

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She said: “But the fact we're seeing cases in care homes again is another reason to be very vigilant and not be complacent about the situation we're facing.”

The Government's national clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch, said: “I know that the relevant government officials and the Cabinet secretary for health are engaged and talking to NHS Lothian, but I’m very confident in NHS Lothian’s Test and Protect programme and the care home staff and everything the director of public health will be able to do there.

“We know globally that care home outbreaks follow community transmission, so if there are large numbers in the community it becomes much more difficult to protect those at risk, which is why we’re thinking of doing extra things.”

Asked why there was a steadily rising number of cases in Lothians – a total of 164 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours – Ms Sturgeon said it would be “a combination of things – an urban, densely populated area, a university city, and the nightlife around Edinburgh will be having a factor."

Professor Leitch said the Lothians had seen “roughly the same proportion of student outbreaks" as the west of Scotland, but added: “They're diminishing in the main so that leaves us with underlying household gatherings and inter-household mixing.

“When you have a bigger pool of positive cases that takes longer to deal with so the student population leaks into other populations in cities and urban centres.”

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