Calls for 'targeted action' to stop spread of covid in Silverknowes and Davidson's Mains

Politicians have called for ‘targeted action’ and door-to-door testing to combat spread of Covid-19 in Davidson's Mains and Silverknowes.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 6:08 pm
Updated Monday, 31st May 2021, 7:27 pm

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A local MSP and councillors demanded increased testing facilities and vaccinations in the area, which recorded 45 positive cases in the last seven days.

And Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton urged the Scottish Government to introduce door-to-door surge testing after the area was named as having the highest rate in Scotland which saw the city’s newly diagnosed cases rise to 401 in total.

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An outbreak is centred on Davidson's Mains and Silverknowes. Picture: Google

It comes after an outbreak at Davidson’s Mains Primary School and Nursery forced the school to shut another week..

Worried parents have voiced fears about out of school activities remaining open and optional, while children are forced out the classroom and the rest of the area remains in level two.

The school closed from Thursday, May 27, after 11 out of 19 classes were told to self-isolate and will remain closed until at least Monday, June 7.

In an update to parents on Friday, Headteacher Astrid Gracie said cases continued to spread. Of 19 classes, 11 were isolating and on Friday Ms Gracie said cases continued to rise despite the school being closed.

Alex Cole-Hamilton wants door-to-door testing in Silverknowes/Davidson's Mains

Sources indicate that dozens of cases have been confirmed at the school – at least half of the number confirmed for the area – but NHS Lothian insisted the new infection rates in area 'not linked to any particular age group or setting'.

Local Lib Dem MSP, Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “There is understandable anxiety in the community at the spread of this variant in Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes. The school have has worked tirelessly and followed infection protocols to the letter since the outbreak began 3 weeks ago.”

He added: “However this version of the virus is highly contagious. I want the government to provide door to door surge testing and an opportunity for all adults over 18 who have yet to be vaccinated the opportunity to book a jag right away, as they are able to do in parts of Glasgow.”

In response to a question in the Scottish Parliament from Mr Cole-Hamilton, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf agreed to ensure that further testing resources will be deployed to the community.

Kevin Lang, Lib Dem councillor for Almond Ward said: “In a short space of time the area has become a hotspot and the closure of the school has been extremely disruptive while Edinburgh as a whole remains at level two. What’s clear is that we’ve seen no additional, targeted action being taken locally."

One parent whose daughter attends Davidson’s Mains Primary said: "It makes no sense that children can’t go to school but the pubs round the corner are open and the community can go out and socialise. The Scottish Government said getting kids back to school was their number one priority.

“It’s also up to parents’ discretion as to whether to send their children to extra-curricular classes which are still running. We have pulled our daughter our of group classes like swimming, ballet and Rainbows but this is voluntarily. I know some parents are still sending their kids to group classes. I worry this is making the whole thing worse.”

Katie Dee, Interim Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian said: “NHS Lothian’s Health Protection team are working closely with Edinburgh City Council as well as numerous organisations to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. This increase is not confined to particular settings or age groups, and it is likely that there is more than one factor responsible for the transmission."We are introducing more testing in areas of concerns as well as working to remind everyone about the benefits of getting vaccinated against the virus.”

Shut because of covid outbreak: Davidson's Mains Primary School and nursery

Ms Dee added: "This week, there are Covid-19 testing centres at Fountainbridge Library and Moredun Library for people without symptoms. Both libraries are open for testing from Monday 31 May to Sunday 6 June between 9am to 6pm. No appointment is necessary."

Edinburgh City Council was contacted for comment.

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