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Confirmed coronavirus case for the Highlands is 'just a matter of time'

By Ian Duncan

Medics are able to carry out tests.
Medics are able to carry out tests.

NHS Highland is bracing itself for more people being tested for coronavirus as the crisis worsens in the coming weeks.

A drive-through testing facility has already been set up in the grounds of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Over the past two weeks more than 100 tests have been carried out and so far all have been negative with no confirmed cases yet in the Highlands.

Speaking at the site today, Dr Boyd Peters said cases would be confirmed in the region and added: "It's going to reach all parts of the UK. It is inevitable. It is in the country already so it's just a matter of time."

He said that, while the facility had not been overwhelmed, it had coped pretty well and anyone who was showing symptoms of Covid-19 should initially contact NHS 24 on 111 to arrange an appointment.

Drive-though testing facility at Raigmore Hospital.
Drive-though testing facility at Raigmore Hospital.

Dr Peters said guidance from both the UK and Scottish governments was changing on a daily basis and it was important for members of the public to keep themselves updated. He said: "It's a rapidly changing picture. We will evaluate the guidance in place at the time."

NHS Highland has implemented a major incident planning strategy, which was developed during the swine flu outbreak, for dealing with such emergencies and so far has postponed a number of elective procedures as it develops its state of readiness for the emergency.

He said he hoped they would be able to cope during the emergency and added: "A great deal of activity has been happening at all levels over the last few weeks."

Sam Thomas, NHS Highland's assistant divisional nurse manager for Raigmore, praised the teamwork from all staff across all departments in the Highlands. She said: "We are working extremely hard as a health board and hospital."

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