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Scots care home system in chaos as more than 150 workers test positive for covid each day

More than 150 care home workers are testing positive for Covid every day, plunging the system into chaos.

Last week saw 1,078 staff test positive for the virus – the highest rate since the pandemic began.

But the crisis caused by Covid hasn’t just affected care homes, a Sunday Mail investigation found:

● More than 7000 NHS staff are off work due to self-isolation.

● A total of 2100 police and more than 500 fire service staff are affected.

● Hundreds of national and local government workers are off sick.

● ScotRail is down nearly 300 staff, forcing many trains to be cancelled.

Absence rates have prompted calls for the number of self-isolation days to be cut further so staff can get back to work quicker after symptoms ease.

Care home bosses say workers left to fill in for absent colleagues are on the verge of collapse.

Dr Donald MacAskill, of Scottish Care, said: “These figures are scary but don’t even tell the whole truth as our analysis shows the absence rate has never been higher – before or during the pandemic.

“We were already starting from a high rate because of exhaustion, fatigue and mental health issues.

“The real worry is that the men and women not with Covid will keep going and burn themselves out.”

There are currently 2319 absences across the care home sector due to the virus. The previous week it peaked at 3222.

The last time reported Covid absences rose above 2000 was at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The next few weeks will probably be the most difficult and challenging the NHS across the UK has faced in its 73-year existence.

“Modelling suggests that infections and associated staff absences due to the coronavirus could peak by mid-January.

“To support the health and care

testing pandemic NHS

Humza Yousaf

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