Lab testing rolled out to curb Indian variant in new hotspot

Clackmannanshire overtook Glasgow with the highest rate of new cases after outbreak spread from the city.

Lab testing rolled out to curb Indian variant in new hotspot NHSFV

There is concern over the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19 after Clackmannanshire replaced Glasgow as Scotland’s virus hotspot with links between the outbreaks.

The area has the highest seven-day average rate of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the country and is one of the local authorities giving the Scottish Government “concern”.

NHS Forth Valley said more than 1500 residents in Tullibody had responded to its appeal to get tested after a surge in positive results in the town.

Two local primary schools and a nursery at Tullibody South Campus moved to online learning last week after a number of pupils and staff tested positive and links were identified with outbreaks in the Glasgow city area.

There are plans to accelerate the vaccine rollout to 18-29-year-olds while residents in their 30s are currently being contacted to come forward for the jag.

NHS Forth Valley said hundreds of additional people had been vaccinated as it works with Clackmannanshire Council, Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Government to manage the local outbreak.

Dr Jennifer Champion, NHS Forth Valley’s consultant in public health, said: “The widespread testing has helped identify a number of positive cases in individuals and families who are now self-isolating which will prevent further spread and help us bring this outbreak under control.

“There are early signs that the rates are starting to level off which is good news however there is no room for complacency and are to continuing to monitor the situation closely.”

Dr Champion said the decision to offer PCR testing was to try to prevent the new variant, first detected in India, from spreading more widely in the community and to avoid the need for more prolonged or additional control measures.

Nicola Sturgeon is holding a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday afternoon where she is expected to give an update on the situations in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire.

There are two mobile testing units in place based at Tullibody South Campus and Banchory Primary School which will remain until May 29. Dr Champion urged people to take up the opportunity to get tested.

Councillor Ellen Forson, Clackmannanshire Council leader, said: “The council is working closely with NHS Forth Valley to follow the public health advice to help deal with this outbreak which is concentrated in Tullibody.

“It’s important to remember that the situation and advice we are asked to follow is evolving as we learn more about the variants that are emerging, and can depend on individual factors. So it’s really important that if you are contacted by Test and Protect you follow the specific advice that you are given, as this may differ from that given to other people.

“I am very pleased to see the great response of the community of Tullibody in coming forward for testing and vaccination.

“I would encourage everyone to keep this response going in the days ahead, to help protect our families and neighbours. Testing is available at two sites at Tullibody Campus and Banchory Primary School until Saturday, May 29.”

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