NHS Western Isles has recorded its largest Covid-19 outbreak to date, with more than 70 cases linked to the Isle of Lewis.

The outbreak, now dubbed the “Lewis outbreak” by NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson, began at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, but quickly spread across Lewis.

Mr Jamieson announced 70 cases on Lewis on Wednesday evening and a further two cases on Thursday night.

Giving an update on the Lewis outbreak on Wednesday evening, Mr Jamieson said: “Today there have been three new positive cases of Covid-19 here in the Western Isles. These cases are all on Lewis.

"Whilst many people who contracted Covid-19 with the Stornoway outbreak have now thankfully recovered, tonight’s new cases bring the total to over 70 cases.

"From now on I will be referring to the outbreak as the Lewis outbreak, and I say that as there are now positive cases across Lewis.

“It is vitally important if we are to suppress and prevent further spread of the virus, that we follow the guidance and remember FACTS.”

On Thursday evening, he added: “Today we have had two new cases of Covid-19 here on the Western Isles. Both cases are here on Lewis, and both are household contacts of existing cases.

“We are now confident that all current cases on Lewis are linked.

“From today, with any positive cases, we will be testing both symptomatic and asymptomatic contacts.

He urged residents to take particular care and wear face masks.

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The Western Isles was placed into Level Four of Scotland’s restrictions at the beginning of February following a rise in cases, whilst other island communities continue to enjoy reduced restrictions.

The decision was taken as a result of an increase in prevalence of Covid-19 and an increase in infection rates, with outbreaks in Barra and Stornoway and a cluster in Benbecula.

Cases were first declared at the Western Isles Hospital at the end of January.

Across Scotland as a whole, 57 deaths from coronavirus were recorded yesterday as well as 685 positive tests.


It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 6,885.

Speaking at the Scottish Government coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said 194,954 people have tested positive in Scotland since the beginning of the pandemic, up from 194,269 the previous day.

The daily test positivity rate is 3.8%, down from 5.2%.

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There are 1,261 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, down 56 in 24 hours, and 95 patients are in intensive care, down four.

She said by 8.30am on Thursday a total of 1,354,966 Scots had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine – an increase of 34,892 from the previous day.

Data for NHS Western Isles

The total number of tests carried out on NHS Western Isles is 8,088.

Since start of the pandemic, there have been 235 positive tests. 

The total number of positive cases in 2021 associated with:

  • Lewis outbreak: 79
  • North Uist (February – linked to Lewis outbreak): 3
  • Benbecula (February – linked to Lewis outbreak): 1
  • South Uist (February): 2
  • Benbecula (second cluster): 5
  • Barra outbreak (January): 54
  • South Uist (January): 4
  • Stornoway (January): 2
  • Benbecula (original) (January): 5

The total number of positive cases in 2020 associated with:

  • North Uist (December): 1
  • Lewis (December): 13
  • Lewis (November): 2
  • Uist & Benbecula (November): 3
  • Western Isles cases associated to MV Isle of Lewis (November): 1
  • Lewis cluster (October): 3
  • Uist outbreak (September-October): 50
  • Cases up to September: 7