Covid-19 Update: Omicron Variant

Friday 10th December 2021

This post gives an update in the impact of the Omicron Variant from a school perspective.  To date, the Omicron variant appears to be more transmissible than Delta. Evidence on severity is still being gathered and assessed. The effectiveness of vaccination to protect against severe disease is not yet known, but the booster is expected to provide protection.

Please be aware that local Health Protection Teams are contacting cases and close contacts by phone and SMS to advise individuals linked to known or suspected Omicron cases that
more stringent self-isolation measures than for Delta are being applied.  If Omicron is known or suspected schools will be contacted to support case finding and risk assessment. In effect, to help establish close contacts.  Please be aware that all our teachers hold seating plans for their classes.  However,  if close contacts cannot be identified then whole classes may be asked to isolate.  The advice to cases and contacts linked to Omicron cases continues to evolve and we expect updated Scottish Government Guidance soon.

Currently any Omicron case or contact identified by Test and Protect or the local NHS Health Protection Team must self-isolate for 10 days. This applies to
everyone, irrespective of age, and the self-isolation period cannot be reduced by testing negative or being vaccinated. Contacts should arrange for PCR testing at their local testing site.
There may be occasions, following risk assessment, where secondary Omicron contacts (contacts of contacts) may be asked to self-isolate and get tested. This would usually involve households of contacts, and they (the secondary contacts) would no longer need to isolate if they are negative on PCR test.

If a case is suspected of being infected with the dominant Delta variant, isolation guidance remains unchanged.  However, in the infrequent occasions when there is a mixed variant picture within a setting, a risk assessment may lead to a more precautionary approach where all contacts are advised to isolate for 10 days.

Anyone who has any of the 3 main symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test at NHS Inform. The cardinal symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are

Anyone contacted by Test and Protect or public health teams should please co-operate and follow their advice.

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