Over the last 7 days, there have been 220 new positive cases in Highland (to 5 August), a decrease from last week when 304 were reported. This means the latest rate per 100,000 has decreased from 129.1 per 100,000 last week to 93.4 per 100,000 as of 5 August. Whilst this is a continued decrease, it remains important to be careful and stick to the Scottish Government guidelines.
In terms of neighbourhood data, the map below and accompanying table highlights the positive cases per 100,000 in communities across the Highland area. The test positivity rate was 4% on 3 August, down from 5.3% on 27 July.
Scotland Moves Beyond Level Zero
From Monday (9 August), most of the remaining legally imposed restrictions in Scotland will be lifted. This includes the removal of the need to physically distance and limits to the size of social gatherings.
From 9 August, no venues will be legally required to close. However, a number of measures will remain in place, including:
- Face coverings must continue to be worn (subject to exceptions) in indoor public places and on public transport
- Indoor hospitality and similar venues will continue to collect the contact details of customers.
- Localised restrictions and travel restrictions may continue be used to control outbreaks, as and when necessary.
- The advice remains to continue to work from home where possible.
- Large-scale events will, for a limited period, need to apply for permission. This applies to outdoor events of over 5,000 and indoor events of over 2000.
Rules of self-isolation to change
- Fully vaccinated adults who are identified as a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to isolate if they return a negative PCR test.
- Children aged 5 to 17, who are not vaccinated, will not need to isolate if they get a negative PCR test.
Changes in schools
- In schools, a more targeted approach will identify close contacts at highest risk of infection.
- Teachers and secondary school pupils will still be asked to wear face coverings in classrooms for the first six weeks of the new term.
- All school staff and secondary pupils will be asked to take a lateral flow test 1-2 days before returning to school for the new term, then twice a week.
The Scottish Government has issued associated guidance that applies form 9 August, Staying Safe and Protecting Others, on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The key message in the guidance is that although we are moving beyond the Protection Levels, the pandemic is not over and we must continue to focus on suppressing the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future. The guidance is on the Scottish Government website https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/
It continues to be important that people test themselves even if they don’t have symptoms. Taking a rapid LFD test twice a week can help stop new variants earlier, limiting the spread of the virus.
Test kits are available at pharmacies, or to order online from www.nhsinform.scot/testing, or by calling 119.
Test kits are also available at Community testing sites. The details for where these are next week is outlined below.
If you do believe you have symptoms, please self-isolate and book a PCR test.
Postal PCR kits are available through NHS Inform either online here or by calling 0800 028 2816.
In addition to the local support that is available, people can get support to self isolate by calling the Council’s helpline number: 0300 303 1362. This can include access to food and supplies to self isolate and individuals may be entitled to a £500 self isolation support grant.
Community Testing 9 August – 13 August
The community testing programme offers rapid COVID-19 tests for people without symptoms. Next week mobile testing units will be in Nairn and Inverness
- The mobile testing unit Testalot will be at the Falconers Lane car park, Falconers Lane, Nairn, IV12 4DS:
Monday 9 August, 11am-3.30pm
Tuesday 8 – Thursday 12 August, 9.30-3.30pm
Friday 13 August, 9.30am-1pm
- The mobile testing unit Moves Like Jagger will be at the B&M store car park, 7 Carsegate Road, Inverness, IV3 5LS:
Monday 9 August – Thursday 12 August, 9.30am-4pm
Friday 13 August, 9.30am-3pm
Just to emphasise that there is no specific outbreak in this communities this is to support normalising testing across the area.
No appointment is necessary, and it will be open both for asymptomatic testing and to collect LFD test kits.
Please note that these drop-in sessions for community testing are only for people without symptoms. Anyone that becomes unwell should isolate immediately and seek a PCR test. PCR tests can be booked through NHS Inform online or by calling 0800 028 2816.
I would appreciate it if you could encourage people across your networks to attend.
The latest update from NHS on the vaccine can be accessed at the following link: www.nhsinform.scot/covid19vaccine