Health chiefs are closely monitoring a significant coronavirus outbreak at a Perthshire care home.
Around 25 confirmed cases have been linked to Beech Manor in Blairgowrie, it has emerged.
The facility, which is operated by the Renaissance Care group, is now closed to new admissions.
NHS Tayside’s Public Health Team is coordinating an investigation at the Golf Course Road building and has put in place extra measures to contain the virus and support staff and residents.
It is the first outbreak at the 45-bed home, and comes after a spate of cases in the Blairgowrie area. Last month, an unspecified “large number” of staff at the town’s Ardblair Medical Centre went into quarantine, while three cases were reported at Blairgowrie High School, forcing around 50 people to stay home.
Care home operators have not reveal how many people are infected at Beech Manor, but The Courier understands around 16 residents and nine staff have been struck by the virus.
NHS Tayside Associate Director of Public Health Dr Daniel Chandler, said the Public Health Team was working to investigate the cases alongside Perth and Kinross Council and the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership.
“Enhanced infection prevention and control measures are in place at the home and residents are being closely monitored,” he said. “Contact tracing has been completed and all close contacts have been identified and given appropriate advice.
“A programme of immediate testing for staff and residents has also been carried out, in addition to the routine weekly staff testing.”
A spokeswoman for Renaissance Care added: “We can confirm that a number of staff and residents at Beech Manor Care Home have tested positive in what is the first outbreak of Covid-19 at the home.
“The staff have been working incredibly hard and have taken all possible precautions and safety measures in conjunction with the local council and health authorities, and are implementing strict control measures in line with the latest Health Protection Scotland guidance.”
The Musselburgh-based firm recently tackled an outbreak at its Milford House care home in Edinburgh, where around 30 people had tested positive.
Founder and chairman Robert Kilgour wrote to the Scottish Government, urging them to provide weekly Covid-19 tests for relatives visiting care homes.
He called for mandatory tests for nominated visitors “in the same way that all our staff must undertake weekly testing”.
Mr Kilgour said: “It is the only way to make sure that relatives do not become unwitting carriers of coronavirus into care homes.”
Perth and Kinross Council has revealed a sharp drop in the number of Covid cases linked to schools, but the overall rate of infections has not fallen.
Local authority leader Murray Lyle said he did not believe the area would be brought out of level three this week.
“I’m really encouraged that the schools figures are moving in the right direction,” he said. “But we still have a problem and the numbers across Perth and Kinross – outside of schools – are not reflecting that decline.
“Sadly the number of positive tests hasn’t dropped in a sustained, significant way. However, it hasn’t gone up either.”
Beech Manor Care Home, which opened in 2013, received a positive report by Care Inspectorate officers last year. Bosses also unveiled plans in 2019 to open a bar and cinema on the premises.