Negative Covid tests at Budhmor as NHS Highland issues update on response to outbreak at Home Farm nursing home

Home Farm, where there has been a major outbreak of Covid-19

Staff and residents at Budhmor Care Home in Portree have all tested negative for Covid-19.

NHS Highland confirmed the negative test results in a statement outlining their response to the major coronavirus outbreak at the town’s Home Farm nursing home .

The health authority said it “recognised the concern caused by the outbreak” and wanted to update the public on the actions being taken.

Since Wednesday there has been no further information released surrounding the number of residents who have died since testing positive for Covid-19.

But the Free press understands that six people have died, from a total number of 57 staff and residents who had tested positive for the virus.

NHS Highland said steps to test residents and staff at the other two care homes on Skye had been completed.

All residents and staff at Budhmor in Portree were found to be negative, as were residents at An Acarsaid in Broadford.

Results of staff tests at Broadford – where a case was linked to the home over six weeks ago – are still to confirmed.

A statement from NHS Highland’s chief officer David Park said: “Firstly we would like to express our deepest sympathy to those families who have suffered loss as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

“NHS Highland is working with HC-One, The Care Inspectorate, and other agencies to maintain infection control and stabilise the Care Home during this period.

“In order to understand and contain the spread of Infection we have proactively taken a number of steps;

* Tested all staff and residents at Home Farm Care Home

* Provided guidance and support to staff affected, and the families of care staff who will be self isolating during this period

* Staff who are currently self-isolating will be tested prior to returning to work

* Tested Budhmor Care Home (Portree) staff and residents – ALL negative results

* Tested residents in An Acarsaid (Broadford) – ALL negative results

* Tested staff in An Acarsaid – test results awaited

* A mobile testing unit has been in Broadford for testing of key workers this week to supplement the Covid Assessment Centre already in Portree.

* The Covid Assessment Centre is triaging calls from 111 where members of the public with Covid symptoms can receive health advice, support and testing where appropriate. The number of referrals through this process remains low.”

Mr Park continued: “We are very grateful for the support of Highland Council and other government agencies in providing help and support to the local community in so many ways.

“We would like to particularly recognise, the work of the Skye Community Response team who have been tremendous in supporting directly, members of the community, the Care Homes, the assessment centre, care staff and others, during this period.

“We are also very grateful for the understanding and support of public representatives and of the local community in general.”

Ken Oates, director for public health urged the public to continue to follow the adivce on hygiene and physical distancing.

He said: “The continued efforts of local communities, in trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has been greatly appreciated and whilst we understand that the measures are difficult, your ongoing support is vital.”

Skye councillor John Finlayson said it was important that the community were given accurate and regular information.

He said: “The whole Skye community is still very concerned about the situation at Home Farm and the high number of residents and staff who have tested positive for Covid 19.

“Everyone is also of course thinking of the families of those who have lost loved ones.

“Because of a lack of information coming to the Skye communities, concern was expressed by myself and other Skye members, that not enough regular information or updates have been coming into the public domain and I and my colleagues Calum Munro and John Gordon along with the Leader of the Council passed this concern onto NHS Highland.

“At a time of such anxiety in an island community, it is essential that good and regular communication supports all the other work that is going on.

“I sincerely hope that going forward regular updates are more forthcoming to ensure honesty and transparency  keeps all Skye residents fully informed.”

It is really important that everybody at extremely high risk of severe illness with coronavirus should follow the shielding advice.

We understand that the measures currently in place as part of the lockdown are challenging but your ongoing help in following this advice will help minimise any risks of any further spread within the Skye community. There is lots of helpful advice on the measures you and your family can take to keep yourself safe on the NHS Inform website. There is also a free helpline (0800 028 2816) if you have any other questions that are not answered by the information online.