Scottish care home worker tests positive for coronavirus for second time

23 June 2020, 11:26

A worker from Home Farm care home has tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time
A worker from Home Farm care home has tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time. Picture: Global's Newsroom

By Fraser Knight

A Scottish care home worker has been diagnosed with coronavirus for a second time after previously recovering, it has been confirmed.

The worker is said to have previously recovered after an outbreak at the home saw more than 30 residents and 29 staff tested positive for coronavirus – leading to at least 10 deaths.

The island's MP, Ian Blackford says he has now asked NHS Highland to test all residents in the care home.

The SNP MP tweeted: “It has been confirmed to me that one of the staff members at Home Farm who had previously tested positive for covid-19, recovered and was tested negative twice has tested positive again.

“The staff member concerned was re-rested on Sunday and received confirmation last night that they were positive. It is important to stress that when someone does test positive having previously had covid-19 that they may not necessarily be infectious.

“Clearly however we cannot take any risks. I have been in touch with NHS Highland this morning and I have asked that as a precaution all staff and residents at Home Farm are tested today and the results must be known ahead of the court hearing tomorrow.”

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But Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer says they will need to look into the case further. Dr Gregor Smith, said: “When these cases of supposed reinfection are looked at, it doesn’t tend to be a reinfection – it’s often a ramification of the testing.

“Quite often what we see, is the test can pick up viral fragments rather than the virus itself so there are very plausible possibilities that a person tests positive without having the virus.

“Sometimes sampling errors can occur, and people may turn positive again because these viral fragments can still be picked up for some people for many weeks after the initial infection but I can’t say with any confidence that this is what’s happened in this case.”

Before the dozens of Covid-19 cases were uncovered at Home Farm care home, the Isle of Skye had only registered one confirmed case.

But the outbreak led to the Care Inspectorate carrying out an unannounced visit, where they found significant concerns.

An application was submitted to the Sheriff Court to cancel the home’s registration with owner HC-One, which has been extended after two court appearances at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Another hearing has been scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

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