Caution urged as Covid cases increase in Kintyre

A sign in Campbeltown advising people to adhere to physical distancing rules at all times.
People are being urged to remain vigilant as Covid-19 cases continue to increase.

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As confirmed cases of Covid-19 rise across Argyll, schools – including Campbeltown Grammar School – which saw pupils returning in recent weeks after the summer holidays, have begun to feel the impact.

After the first week of the new term, NHS Highland saw more than 1,000 cases, representing almost 10 per cent of its total case count for the whole pandemic, in a single week.

The health board expects this increase to continue and is already reporting a large number of outbreaks in schools across the region.

On Tuesday, Campbeltown Grammar School’s acting headteacher Sam Stewart confirmed that a member of staff had tested positive for the virus, adding that it appeared to be an isolated case, with no other staff or pupils testing positive at the time.

Miss Stewart assured that safety measures remained in place at the school as she continues to liaise with the relevant authorities in relation to the school’s Covid-19 situation, which has been deemed ‘low risk’.

Also on Tuesday, Campbeltown Community Shop on Longrow South revealed it will be closed until Thursday September 9 in relation to a Covid-19 case and advised anyone who visited the shop from Thursday August 26 to take a test as a precaution.

The day before, Gigha Hotel announced it would be closing until Thursday September 9 after two members of staff tested positive following routine lateral flow tests.

The island’s Boathouse Restaurant followed suit, announcing it would close until Wednesday September 8 as a precaution as some of its staff had been in close contact with hotel staff over the weekend.

‘There is no single situation driving the numbers up and we are experiencing sustained community transmission,’ said Dr Jenny Wares, consultant in public health medicine (health protection) at NHS Highland.

‘Covid-19 is spreading very rapidly and the impact on families, schools and businesses remains significant.

‘Whilst Covid-19 is circulating at such high levels, we would advise you to try to minimise your contact with others as much as possible to limit further spread within our communities.

‘It is so important that we remain vigilant for symptoms. The typical symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or fever and a loss of, or change in, normal taste or smell.

‘However, people with Covid-19 can present with a wide range of symptoms including headache, sore muscles and joints, tiredness, sore throat, cold-like symptoms and diarrhoea and vomiting.

‘Anyone who becomes unwell should isolate immediately and book a PCR test.’

Details on how to book a PCR test are available on the NHS Inform website at www.nhsinform.scot

Dr Wares added: ‘Since moving beyond level zero, the Scottish Government guidance for the management of Covid-19 cases in schools and childcare settings has changed with close contacts in these settings not routinely asked to isolate.

‘However, if there is evidence of Covid-19 transmission within the class, additional actions such as PCR testing and self-isolation may be advised to try to control the outbreak.

‘This change is being closely monitored for the first few weeks of pupils returning to the classroom.’