Health bosses have revealed that 30% of all people checked at an NHS Tayside testing centre proved positive for Covid-19.
The health board confirmed more than 1,000 individuals had been tested, with three in 10 of those diagnosed with the virus.
A total of 642 workers took part in the checks, 540 of whom who are now back at work, with the remainder family and/or fellow household members.
Tests were first started a fortnight ago, with priority initially given to frontline staff who were unable to come into work as they, or a member of their household, who had symptoms were required to self-isolate for up to 14 days.
The criteria for testing has since been expanded from acute frontline workers to GPs, those working in health and social care partnerships, community and hospital pharmacists and other hospital workers.
Since it was first launched, family members and others within the same household exhibiting symptoms have also been tested.
In a statement, NHS Tayside revealed that approximately 70% of those tested have been able to return to work following a negative test result, meaning that 30% had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
However, while the number is a stark indicator of the severity of the pandemic, local health bosses have said that the testing has helped to ensure vital staff have not been sidelined unnecessarily for fear they might have the virus.
Professor Peter Stonebridge, NHS Tayside’s medical director praised the efforts of the health board in testing staff members..
He said, “If staff testing had not been established, the self-isolation rules would have had a much bigger impact on our workforce.
“Our clinicians foresaw this could be a significant issue and so teams of nursing, medical, laboratory and support staff worked together to set up the staff testing hub.
“It was clear from the start that there needed to be a robust process for testing with staff advised to attend by appointment only. We need to be very strict about the criteria for testing, however, people understand this and are following the correct process.
“The teams who have set this up have been really outstanding. It’s been a brilliant effort by everyone to get this up and running and it’s really making a difference by ensuring our staff are safely isolating or are able to get back to providing key services for people in Tayside.
Professor Stonebridge also urged people to continue to stay at home and follow the government guidelines to help save lives during the pandemic.
“I’d also like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who is staying at home. You really are doing the best thing and the right thing,” he added.
“Please keep doing exactly what you’re doing: Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”