Midlothian has seen positive Covid cases spiral over the last two weeks

Friday May 14th 2021

Mauricewood-Primary

Mauricewood Primary School in Penicuik


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A primary school closed after a Covid outbreak is to remain shut for another week as cases continue to increase.

Midlothian has seen positive cases spiral over the last two weeks from just two a week to 47 cases in the most recent seven-day period.

Health chiefs have insisted that a spike in Pentland, where 32 of the most recent cases were recorded, is not down to any “particular setting or age group”.

However, it is being linked locally to a primary school in Penicuik which closed this week due to the number of children and staff self-isolating.

Midlothian Council has confirmed that Mauricewood Primary School is to remain closed next week after shutting its doors on Tuesday following consultation with Public Health Scotland and Scottish Government.

Kevin Anderson, the council’s executive director (place), said: “We have continued to review the situation as this week progresses and parents and carers have been advised that remote learning is extending into next week.

“This has not been a decision that has been taken lightly but will ensure that learning can continue, albeit remotely.”

The rest of the county remains practically Covid free, but the sudden spike at Pentland, with six cases recorded in neighbouring Roslin and Bilston, is pushing the number of cases up.

It has pushed the number of cases per 100,000 people up to 50.8, substantially higher than the 30 national average and closing the gap on Moray, which has a rate of 68 per 100,000 and is the only part of mainland Scotland to remain in Level 3 restrictions while the rest of the country moves to Level 2 on Monday.

Although much of the Pentland area is made up of the Pentland Hills rather than any densely populated community, it is home to a number of pioneering animal science campuses such as the Roslin Institute, Dick Vet Animal Hospital and Pentlands Science Park.

Despite the rate of positive cases topping 50 per 100,000 – previously seen as the magic number separating restriction levels two and three – local sources say the fact the cases are being linked to Mauricewood school community is giving confidence the county will not find itself pushed back into Level 3.

NHS Lothian has denied a link to any one group.

Katie Dee, Interim Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian, said: “Within some parts of Midlothian, there have been increased numbers of Covid-19 cases over the past seven days.

“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.”

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