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Scotland’s Outer Hebrides see massive surge in Covid cases

THE Outer Hebrides have seen Scotland’s biggest surge in Covid cases in the past week, according to a Scottish Government report.

While much of the country has seen infections reduce, the islands off the north west coast which include Lewis, Harris, North Uist and Benbecula, have experienced a massive surge.

The State of the Pandemic in Scotland study, published today, revealed that Comhairle Na h-Eileanan Siar, the council area which covers the Outer Hebrides, saw its weekly infection levels rise by 72 per 100,000 of population to 162 per 100,000.

Orkney, North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire also witnessed rising infection levels for the past seven days.

The report summarises the data up to and including 29 July 2021 on Covid-19 in Scotland.

It found that West Dunbartonshire currently has the highest case rate in Scotland with 234 weekly cases reported per 100,000 in the week to 26 July, which is a 3% increase from the week to 19 July.

North Lanarkshire with 217 weekly cases per 100,000 population had the second highest, Glasgow with 210 weekly cases per 100,000 was third, and East Lothian with 209 weekly cases per 100,000 population had the fourth highest infection rate.

The report gave no explanation why there has been a substantial surge in case in the Outer Hebrides which are popular as a tourist destination.

It simply stated: “Case rates have started to decrease however there are still mostly very high or high levels of cases across Scotland. Local authorities that recorded an increase in case rates over the last week were Na h-Eileanan Siar, North Ayrshire, Orkney and West Dunbartonshire.”

The State of the Pandemic study estimated the reproduction rate R in Scotland as being between 0.8 and 1.0, based on data up until the July 26. 

It also noted: 
• Case rates have gone down across all age bands over the last week with the highest case rates were observed amongst 20-39, followed by 0-19, 40-59, 60-79 and 80+.
• As determined through the latest weekly ONS survey, the estimated proportion of people becoming infected with Covid in the community in Scotland has decreased in the last week (week ending 24 July 2021). Scotland is currently below England and Northern Ireland but above Wales. 

The report noted that contacts in the workplace were driving infections among the 30 to 39 age group and said patterns of mixing will impact on future case numbers.

“Those aged 30-39 have shown the biggest increase, by 22%, which is largely driven by a rise in contacts within the work place. Contacts within the work place make up the majority of overall contacts for those who do not work at home, therefore changes in work contacts has proportionate impact on overall contacts,” it said.

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