VULNERABLE residents in one of Scotland’s worst-hit Covid areas may have been put at risk after health and social care workers were told to carry on working despite a colleague testing positive for the virus, it has been claimed.

North Lanarkshire Council staff responsible for delivering and installing equipment at the homes of disabled or ill members of the community, the majority of whom are elderly, claim they were told to carry on with visits despite the test.

They claim an employee tested positive on Thursday last week after mixing with colleagues in the team’s Motherwell office and working closely with another staff member while carrying out jobs in the community earlier in the week.

Despite asking bosses if they should isolate, the whistleblowers claim they were told to carry on working as normal until told otherwise.

It is understood that the staff member who was working closely with the positive employee was only told to isolate yesterday after he contacted Public Health Lanarkshire to raise concerns – meaning he carried on visiting homes for a week after bosses were informed of the test result.

The revelations came as Lanarkshire narrowly avoided being placed in tough Tier 4 restrictions, prompting North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue to call on residents in the area to “stick to the guidance” to reduce positive cases in the area.

A council spokeswoman confirmed the positive case and said appropriate procedures had been followed.

One of the health and social care workers, who asked not to be named, said: “Most of the service users we’re going in to are elderly, and most of them have health conditions. These are the people who would suffer the most if they got coronavirus, and yet something like this happens and we’re told to carry on going to their homes.

“We asked our boss several times ‘should we not be isolating?’ and we were told not to do anything until Test and Protect contacted us.

“But after waiting days, some of the guys got fed up and contacted Public Health and Test and Protect and now one of the guys has been told to isolate, but he’s been going in and out houses as normal all of this time.”

It is understood that the worker who tested positive began to feel ill on Tuesday, October 20, while at work.

He was off sick the next day and took a test, with the result coming back positive on Thursday.

Another worker said: “We all work in the same office, we’re all using the same computers, all in contact with each other, and obviously the guy who was working with him building beds was in really close contact with him.

“We just can’t understand why it’s taken so long for anything to be done about this. especially given the type of people we work with.

“We’re also now responsible for delivering PPE to care providers. You would think any positive case would be dealt with really carefully, but it just doesn’t seem to be the case.”

A third employee added: “This has the potential to snowball. When you think of the number of service users that have been in contact with the guy who tested positive, and then the people who carried on working, it’s terrifying.

“Nothing might happen, but if the worst happens, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.

“Many of our service users will have been isolating, suffering from loneliness and making hard sacrifices to stay safe. Imagine they now get the virus because of this.”

A spokeswoman for North Lanarkshire Council said: “A member of staff tested positive for Covid-19 and immediately self-isolated. NHS Lanarkshire Test and Protect has carried out contact tracing and have advised another member of staff to self-isolate and be tested.

“All procedures were followed and public health have been consulted throughout and have provided appropriate advice to staff.

“The council has implemented a number of health and safety measures in all council buildings and facilities including signage, hand sanitisation stations, posters and wayfinding material to help keep staff as safe as possible.

“Staff are expected to comply with national guidance such as adhering to physical distancing measures where possible, face coverings in communal areas and for those staff who deal with specific equipment or service care, the wearing of PPE.

“In the type of work within health and social care, there may be times when there is close contact but it is for a minimal time and PPE is worn and separate vehicles are used.”

Dr Jennifer Darnborough, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health medicine, said: “NHS Lanarkshire is working closely with North Lanarkshire Council with regards to the case and has contacted all close contacts. Public health advice has been given to these individuals and they are being told to self-isolate.”

The health board would not confirm if there had been any delay in this case.

Meanwhile, North Lanarkshire Council confirmed that Broadwood stadium in Cumbernauld, one if its leisure facilities, was closed on Wednesday as a precaution after a member of staff tested positive. The venue re-opened yesterday.

Last month, a floor at the council’s Dalziel Building in Motherwell also had to be closed off after a number of cases were confirmed among staff.