Covid surge: Firms forced to close and hundreds of pupils isolating

Covid cases in East Dunbartonshire have spiked to one of the highest rates in Scotland with hundreds of pupils absent from school and local businesses forced to close temporarily.

Covid

Figures on Wednesday, as the Herald went to press, showed there have been 1,337 cases in the last week alone, representing 15.2% of all PCR tests taken.

Almost half of pupils at a secondary school were absent on Tuesday.

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Businesses have also been hit hard. Popular Milngavie restaurant Finsbay was forced to close over the weekend due to “Covid, supply and staffing issues”.

Glenbrae Vets at Bearsden stopped registering new clients on Tuesday as they said it “is becoming increasingly difficult to staff all of our clinics and keep up with the demand as staff need to isolate, etc.”

The team added they hoped it was “a temporary situation.”

All routine appointments at the vets have also been put on hold.

Meanwhile, East Dunbartonshire Council confirmed one school had a high absence rate and families had adopted a "cautious approach".

Scotland's Covid cases have been surging in the last week, with 6,029 new cases reported on Tuesday and seven further deaths.

Andrene Bamford, the vice president of the EIS teachers' union and local secretary for East Dunbartonshire, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme that St Ninian’s in Kirkintilloch, had been heavily affected.

She said: "St Ninian’s had 405 pupils off, which is 45% of the overall roll of the school. Obviously they won't all be because of Covid but it is an indication of the high levels in the community just now."

She said that teachers had been posting lessons online for those who were unable to attend school but that this was not an acceptable situation.

The council’s Education boss Ann Davie said: "We can confirm that at one school there is a high absence rate.

"The vast majority of absences are from students who are isolating while they await PCR test results. Following some positive cases in the school this week, many families are adopting a cautious approach and booking PCR tests.

"Schools are working with parents and carers to minimise disruption to learning."

This afternoon (Wednesday) Scottish Greens MSP for the West of Scotland Ross Greer has called for door to door testing in Kirkintilloch and surrounding villages to help contain the COVID surge which has seen almost half of pupils at St Ninian's High School absent and self-isolating.

Reports of the high absence rate were confirmed by East Dunbartonshire Council this morning, with 405 pupils at home yesterday from a school roll of 850.Commenting, local Green MSP Ross Greer said: “St Ninians pupils, staff and their families should be praised for taking this cautious approach in the face surging infections.

"By staying at home until their PCR test results are confirmed, they are protecting the wider community and particularly those who are most vulnerable to the virus.“When there was an outbreak in the Southside of Glasgow earlier in the year we saw public health teams go door-to-door to offer testing, which identified and contained the outbreak.

"A similar approach should now be taken in Kirkintilloch and the surrounding villages, to provide much needed reassurance for the community.”