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'Very large' Covid positive test rate prompts response from Highland GP behind respected Safe Hands, Saves Lives campaign

By Hector MacKenzie

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A HIGHLAND GP has maintained a close watching brief on the coronavirus crisis since the first lockdown in March 2020 has appealed to people not to become too anxious over the "very large positive test rate" for the new variant of the virus.

In response to statistics indicating that more than one in four people seeking a test are returning a positive result, Dr Ross Jaffrey acknowledges: "I don’t think we have ever seen such a transmissible virus."

The GP behind the Safe Hands, Saves Lives campaign, notes that as things stand hospitalisation remains low by comparison and welcomes news from the Scottish Health Secretary that admission numbers will be analysed in detail.

Dr Jaffrey, who has patients in Muir of Ord and Beauly and has played a key role in the local vaccination drive, posted: "Please try not to get too anxious about the total case rate. Hospitalisations are now a stronger indicator of impact.

"From a clinical perspective, England is taking a gamble on Omicron not causing too much harm. The 'too much' part remains to be decided. Past infection and high levels of vaccination in the UK may make Omicron less severe here, this still may not be the case in other parts of the world."

He said that differentiating incidental Covid from those entering the hospital system because of Covid will be important.

He noted that other factors such as length of stay and vaccine status may be included in future Covid daily reports. He said: "We need this information to make appropriate individual risk assessments. We will know where things are headed in the next two weeks."

Looking at the impact, he said: "Such terrible timing for the hospitality sector, in particular. The divergence in approach across the UK has caused certain parts of the media to help fuel resentment – we honestly really don’t know how this is going, caution for a few more days appears sensible but understand the frustration within groups of people unlikely to need hospital level care.

"It is becoming clearer that the infrastructure to support testing is going to break, given the level of cases and the number of contacts looking to test will be significant, hence the recent difficulties in accessing a test slot."

Stats published yesterday showed 672 daily cases in the NHS Highland area and more than 15,000

across Scotland.

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GP cautions Highlanders against 'vaccination fatigue'

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