NEWS. Click below for Isle of Tiree coronavirus updates.
Bringing you the latest and the best information from the entire range of sources that we currently have access to. We will update these pages as soon as any new information becomes available.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates
Update from the Medical Practice 31st March 2020
Things have changed a lot for everyone since our last message. It is great to see the effort being made on Tiree to follow advice and keep as distant as possible from one another.
Probably the hardest place for everyone to keep their distance from those around them is the COOP, but we all need to eat. We are really grateful to all the staff at the COOP for their continued efforts to make distancing possible whilst shopping.
At the surgery, we are doing as many consultations as we possibly can by telephone. We are grateful for your co-operation with this and with the new arrangements for picking up medication. We now have a temporary Assessment Room beside the Dentists Surgery, which will be for assessing people with symptoms that could be Covid-19. This will allow us to prevent the virus being passed on to patients or staff at the surgery building.
We have prepared a temporary ward at Baugh Church. This will allow us to look after anyone unwell with the virus, who cannot manage at home. We hope we do not have to use it, but we need to be prepared. We will be contacting those who have volunteered to be staff at the ward this week.
We have heard more about the ambulance services arrangements for anyone who needs to be evacuated with Covid-19. There will now be an air ambulance service using the fixed wing aircraft.
We are seeing a few people with cough and fever symptoms, but as time goes by, it is becoming clearer that some people with coronavirus do not always have both of these. If you feel unwell and have any cold, cough or fever type symptoms, please let us know. We may not always need to see you face to face, but we would like to hear from you please.
You have probably heard talk of Covid-19 testing in the news. Unfortunately, we still do not have access to testing except for front line health care workers, in order to get them back to work if they are suspected of having the virus.
There is a huge amount of effort going in from people across the community, be it helping move equipment, building partitions for the Ward at Baugh Church, making uniforms for volunteers at the Ward, plumbing and electrics installation for the Assessment Room, helping those more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection to isolate by doing their shopping or administrative and organisational work. It’s a long list and we are really grateful to everyone who is helping to hold back the spread of the virus, and make preparations for whatever it may bring.
For up to date information regarding COVID-19 in the community visit www.tireetrust.org.uk/covid-19—
Tiree Community Development Trust
Update from Tiree Medical Practice: COVID19
24th March 2020
Many of you may have noticed activity around Baugh Church.
Whilst we hope we never have to use it we have set up Baugh Church as a potential ward ( not hospital) so that we can look after a number of unwell people at a time if we needed to do so.
The church now has a couple of hospital beds and is equipped with supportive treatment such as oxygen, fluids and medicines.
As you are all very well aware we have limited medical staff and we are hoping to make a list of potential volunteers who might be able to help us keep the ward going. In particular we are looking for people who may have had carer or nursing backgrounds but we are basically keen for anyone that thinks they might be able to help. Volunteers could not be in an ‘at risk’ group.
To give an update on the current situation on Tiree: we have a few families self isolating but this has not increased a huge amount over the past few days. Please let us know if you think you have symptoms and are self isolating as it will help us get an idea of levels of the virus on the island.
Thanks so much to everyone for paying attention to all the advice regarding self isolating and social distancing we really hope it will pay off so keep it up!
Also thanks to all our amazing volunteers who are helping with prescription deliveries and with shopping please contact Rona if you need assistance with this.
Mike,Linds,Ali and Andy
CalMac state ferry travel across Scotland must be for essential travel only
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced today, Sunday 22 March 2020, that ferry travel across Scotland must be for essential travel only.
From now on ferries will be for those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland, and for essential supplies or business. Nothing else. The return of non-residents from islands back to the mainland will also be deemed essential travel.
If you have already bought or booked a ticket but your travel is not essential, then you should not be travelling, and you must contact us for a refund. We expect the travelling public will listen to this new guidance to keep everyone of us as safe as possible
Glasgow-Tiree Air Service Public Service Obligation (PSO)
Tiree Community Council and Tiree Transport Forum are in dialogue with the Aviation Sector of Transport Scotland on our Glasgow to Tiree PSO through the COVID 19 health crisis which is seriously impacting on the numbers using the Glasgow flights, Michael Bratcher, Aviation Department, Transport Scotland has responded to us this week as follows;
‘There are no immediate plans to change the network further but things are moving quickly so that may change’“
Update on Glasgow-Tiree Air Service
Michael Bratcher, Transport Scotland, Aviation Dept. 23 March 2020
As you may be aware, capacity is being scaled back on the Tiree-Glasgow service at present in light of the significantly reduced demand. This will initially involve doubling up the Campbeltown and Tiree service using the existing Twin Otters. I think there may have been a misunderstanding that the Saabs were getting brought in to increase capacity but, in fact, the opposite is the case. I’m sure you’ll agree that it makes little sense to fly empty or near empty planes so a capacity cut in the short term is inevitable. Things are moving pretty quickly so it may be the case that capacity is cut further if demand continues to remain at these very low levels. I am of course conscious of the need for connectivity to be maintained so that residents and supplies can get on and off the island where necessary.
One issue to note is that the Twin Otter aircraft may be needed by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to augment the existing air ambulance capacity. The Twin Otters can be fitted out to carry stretchers and are capable of landing at airstrips that other aircraft are not. If a Twin Otter aircraft is not available then a Saab may operate but please note that this would only be because the Twin Otter was not available and not due to any capacity requirement. It is anticipated that passenger levels will remain very low for some time to come.
Covid-19 CalMac prioritisation of goods for transport-statement
Information is from Elizabeth Ferguson, CalMac Community Board Member
As the situation around the Covid:19 outbreak develops, it is critical that essential goods are transported to where they are required. At CalMac, we have a key part to play in this supply chain. To assist everyone during these challenging times, a list of goods which are deemed priority has been created. Any vehicle – be that an articulated vehicle, van, car with or without a trailer, involved in the transportation of these goods will be given priority on all routes and on all sailings. They include:
· Vehicles carrying food and other goods for supermarkets and shops
· Vehicles carrying drugs and other medical supplies
· Vehicles carrying medical oxygen
· Vehicles carrying items required by the emergency services, in particular medical items related to the current Covid-19 outbreak
· Vehicles carrying fuel
· Vehicles carrying livestock.
As you will understand, this may result in vehicles with non-urgent goods that may or may not have a booking being moved to a later sailing. In the current situation, this is unavoidable, and we will do our best to clearly communicate the reason for any booking being moved to a later sailing.
If there are any issues or problems relating to this, please speak to the relevant Port Manager.
Shop Safely on Tiree
As you know, coronavirus is circulating on Tiree. Keeping away from other people is an effective way to reduce the chance of you catching the disease and the chance of you passing it around our community.
We are really lucky to have the shops we have on Tiree. But with most meetings and gatherings cancelled, they are one of the few places left on the island where you might bump into someone else. Shopping safely has therefore become very important.
Here are some basic rules to follow:
· If you are at risk of getting a more severe illness from the virus – if you are over 70 or if you don’t keep in the best of health – consider asking someone else to shop for you (phone Rona Campbell on 01631 572975)
· Shop once week rather than every few days
· Shop on your own rather than in a group
· Stay at least 2 metres away from other shoppers from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. If the shop is crowded, wait in your car until there is more space. It is usually quiet early and late in the day
· Do not stop to chat. This goes against our very nature, but it’s important for the next few weeks!
· When you get home, wash your hands thoroughly, leave your shopping in the porch overnight and wipe down hard containers like milk bottles with hot, soapy water
The Coop on Tiree is now offering the time between 8 and 9 am that is dedicated to those over 60 and the carers of vulnerable people.
Dr John Holliday
It has been a while since I put this series to bed, but I thought I would resuscitate it since we are officially in The Thick of It.
It is so important not to touch our faces at the moment. And so difficult! A study from New South Wales in 2015 filmed 26 medical students who had been told that they were under observation and that they should try to keep their hands under control. Despite this pressure, they touched their faces 23 times an hour on average. That is once every three minutes. Half the time this involved their eyes, nose and mouth, those little bits of us that are lined with sensitive membranes that viruses home in on.
So if you are stuck at home, wondering what family game to play, sit around the table for three minutes and try not to touch your face. Let me know how you get on!
Dr John Holliday 24/03/2020
THINK OF OUR POSTIES!
Most of us are all getting used to a new life tucked up at home, and a lot of us are spending more time in front of our screens. It is very tempting, when we can’t get out to the shops, to order stuff online. Please remember, though, that every order we make needs the attention of staff in some warehouse or other and a whole network of couriers including our own Tiree posties and delivery drivers. Every time a packet or box is handled and delivered to your door, there is a chance that it picks up the virus. We know that the virus can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours. In the present circumstances, we depend more than ever on online shopping, but please think of all the people working in the supply chain. Don’t click unless you really need to!
Dr John Holliday, 24/03/2020
TIREE AND CORONAVIRUS
For a hundred years Tiree has welcomed visitors and won worldwide fame for its sunshine, its beaches and its welcome. The season to visit the island is upon us and we would normally expect to see over 20,000 people before the end of the year.
However, the current coronavirus epidemic is a once-in-a-century event. The virus is already circulating on the island. We know from past experience that epidemics have a particularly intense effect on our small, isolated community, which in winter numbers just 650 and contains a high number of elderly people. We need your help to get through the next few months as safely as we can.
The doctors and emergency services on Tiree are now at full stretch and working in very difficult circumstances. An increased workload from a large number of visitors is going to increase the strain.
We are trying to keep contact between people down to a bare minimum. Almost all meetings, church services and group activities have been cancelled. We are encouraging people to shop responsibly: that means a single person shopping just once a week with as little social contact inside the shop as possible. Many vulnerable and elderly islanders have retreated into their homes, and, often, would like to keep visitors to a minimum.
We would ask you to think carefully about your visit to Tiree at the moment. It is not that we are worried about you bringing coronavirus to the island. There is plenty here already. But we need to be able to work without distraction on the challenges we face: treating people and reducing the penetration of the disease into the community.
When coronavirus is all over and we are able to party again, normal service will be resumed!
We are grateful for your help and support.
Drs Mike McIver, Lindsay Kerr, Ali Ambrose and Andrew Clark, supported by Dr John Holliday and the members of Tiree Community Council