NHS Western Isles has taken the decision to offer a COVID-19 test to all individuals identified by Test and Protect as close contacts of positive cases on Barra. 

This will help the NHS to identify, as early as possible, positive cases within the community and the spread of virus that has already occurred. 

Those who are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must self isolate for 10 days from the date of their last contact with the positive individual, in line with what is explained to them by the NHS Western Isles Test and Protect Team. 

NHS Western Isles cannot stress strongly enough that, even if close contacts test negative for COVID-19 as part of this process, this does not change the requirement to complete their self isolation period.

Even if a close contact’s test is negative, there is still the possibility that they are incubating the virus and could inadvertently pass it on to others. 

We would remind individuals that, if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Protect, the period of self isolation starts immediately. 

  • do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home 
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care 
  • try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible 
  • any people you live with and any people in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms. 

If there are others within your household, you should stay away from other people you live with as much as possible. 

The self isolation period stops after 10 days if the individual does not develop any symptoms.  

If symptoms develop during the isolation period (regardless of how mild), it is absolutely vital to arrange for a test at the earliest opportunity. To access testing in the Western Isles, contact the COVID-19 Response Team on 01851 601151 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  The phoneline will be staffed from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday with an answering machine available outwith those hours. 

For positive tests, the 10 day isolation period restarts from the day after symptoms started. This will mean an individual testing positive after isolating as a close contact would be self-isolating for more than 10 days overall. Should an individual test positive, there would also be a requirement for their household to also self isolate for a period of 10 days.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:  

  • A high temperature (37.8C of greater) 
  • And/or a new and continuous cough 
  • And/or a loss or change in your sense of smell and/or taste.  

However, there is a wide range of symptoms associated with COVID-19 – so we would advise, specifically for Barra residents, that if you don’t feel well, your should self isolate and seek a test.