PEOPLE arriving in Scotland’s care homes from hospital do “not necessarily” have results to Covid-19 tests, the country’s chief nursing officer has admitted.

Professor Fiona McQueen has also defended infection control measures in Scotland’s care homes, despite deaths having overtaken those in hospitals in last week’s statistics.

The admission comes as a "significant" number of staff and residents have now been infected with Covid-19 at a care home on the Isle of Skye - the first recorded on the Scottish island.

The latest weekly statistics from the National Records of Scotland revealed that the cumulative Covid-19 deaths in care homes increased from 548 to 886 in the previous week, a rise of 62%.

Around 39% of Covid-19 deaths in Scotland have occurred in care homes since the start of the pandemic - with 52% in hospitals.

Speaking on Sunday Politics Scotland, Professor McQueen confirmed that sample testing in care homes that have yet to confirm an outbreak will begin on Monday - but stressed those arriving at care homes are put in quarantine for 14 days.

She said: “Those who have been in hospital or who have tested positive for Covid-19 will, before they are admitted into a care home, will now need to have two negative tests.

“For those who haven’t been identified as having Covid-19, and obviously there are many reasons for admission to hospital and onward into a care home, we issued guidance way back inMarch that talked about people who are admitted to care homes, should be isolated in their rooms for 14 days.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Care home deaths now average one every 30 minutes

“People admitted will have a test - they won’t necessarily have the result. “Over two months ago, we issued that guidance that at the time people did think was quite draconian, because we were asking people to be kept and stay in their own room until you had confidence that they weren’t going to display symptoms.”

The chief nursing officer was pressed over safeguards in care homes to stop an outbreak spreading to vulnerable residents. Professor McQueen defending the controls in place in care home settings.

She said: “We have good infection prevention control measures within our care homes. “The staff in care homes are working tirelessly to care for older residents. We have a routine that’s been in care homes for a number of years - care homes are used to looking at infection prevention control.

“Every year we have the winter vomiting bug, we have the flu - so core infection prevention control measures in care homes have been there for some time.”

When asked about whether changes will be made to stop people arriving at care homes before test results are issued to confirm they are negative for Covid-19, Professor McQueen said “we will keep that constantly under review”.

She added: “Our residents, when placed in care homes, will be placed in isolation and they will be tested. “We will look at making sure that they get the very, very best care.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the process where all new care home residents do not have negative tests "doesn't make it pointless".

She added: "What we have said from the outset is that new admissions to care homes  should be isolated for 14 days.

"Someone going into a care home, unless they are going in  with a test that clearly tells them...they will continue to be tested, with their consent, along with other residents now.

"If they are going into a care home and the test result is not yet through, they should be isolating for 14 days.

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"It doesn't make it pointless at all. As soon as the test result comes back, if it says the person is negative, they would be in that care home like other residents."

The move to instil confidence came as NHS Highland and the Highland Council said they are working closey together to support the 40-resident Home Farm care home in Portree amidt he latest Covid-19 outbreak,the first on Skye.

Dr Ken Oates, director of public health at NHS Highland, said: "There is no evidence at this stage that Covid infection has spread further into the community. The measures that have been put in place will support us in ensuring, as best as we can, that the outbreak is as contained as possible.

"It is really important at this time that the local community continue to adhere to the government's social distancing guidance and do not put vulnerable residents in the area, or themselves, at risk.

"We will continue to support Home Farm until this outbreak is over and all those affected are no longer infectious."

Local MP Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, said he was "devastated" by the outbreak.

Mr Blackford, the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said:"This brings home that the virus knows no barriers and the measures to control its spread are necessary and we must remain vigilant.

"I am devastated by the news. It is a situation we all feared here on Skye. I also understand the fears of the wider community.

"I have spoken to the home and my thoughts are with the staff and residents and we must do everything to support them. I will do everything I can as their MP. But it is a very trying time for them."

Earlier, Professor McQueen estimated that between 40% and 50% of Scotland’s care homes have experienced an outbreak of Covid-19 but that many do not have active cases anymore.

She also stressed that healthcare teams would be administering tests for care home residents, while army mobile testing units are likely to be used to test frontline staff.

She said: “We know that the average age of people in care homes is 84. We know that many of them have confusion or dementia and therefore we are looking at a way to support testing in care homes that is as least distressing for our residents as possible.

“We are looking at ways where healthcare teams known to the residents could do the testing.

“Our mobile testing units with the army are going to be a great help to us. At the moment, we are making the decision that that is likely to test our social care staff so that we have a confidence that they are able to go back to work if they have had symptoms.”