The head of NHS Orkney has said he is concerned the virus is “spreading rapidly” across the islands.
The health board’s chief executive Michael Dickson said a number of people have developed symptoms and then travelled to their homes across Orkney and to mainland Scotland.
He said the cluster involves a minimum of nine people, some of whom have tested positive, and work is ongoing to trace contacts.
At the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said there were three new cases in NHS Orkney in the past 24 hours and an incident management team is due to meet on Thursday afternoon.
NHS Orkney last reported a positive case on June 15, when there had been a total of nine cases since the start of the pandemic, however on Saturday the health board said Orkney testers had picked up a positive case registered to a mainland address.
The First Minister said: “While Orkney had a number of cases at the beginning of the pandemic, it has had very few since, so I would urge everyone on the islands to guard against complacency.
“If you have what might be symptoms of coronavirus please isolate immediately and make immediate arrangements to be tested.”
Mr Dickson told BBC Radio Orkney that the latest cases are a separate cluster: “We’re talking a minimum of nine people, a number of which have already tested positive.”
He said they involve a group of people which worked together and early signs indicate a possible link to Aberdeen.
Mr Dickson said in a statement: “NHS Orkney is responding to a significant Covid public health issue and we are profoundly concerned that the virus is spreading rapidly across our community.
“We believe there is a real risk to the people of Orkney, including those on the remote isles, and urge them to take care.
“Several individuals have developed Covid symptoms and then travelled to their homes across the isles and to mainland Scotland.
“I am asking that anyone in Orkney who shows symptoms of Covid to immediately self-isolate for at least 10 days and seek a test.
“NHS Orkney is taking this matter extremely seriously and working with partners, which include several NHS mainland boards, port authorities, ferry operators, environmental health and the Orkney Island Council.
“Our public health tracing team will be working to find as many contacts of these positive cases as possible. ”
He urged anyone contacted by the team to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested if symptoms develop.
He added in the statement on Wednesday: “While Orkney’s Covid figures did not change today, we are aware of a significant number of symptomatic cases all of whom have been tested.
“Some of these figures will be attributed to mainland board figures, this happens when a patient’s home address is registered off-island. ”
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said: “This spike in new cases is deeply worrying. It is also a timely reminder that this virus remains a real threat and that we all have a responsibility to act with the utmost care to keep ourselves and our community safe.”
He echoed Mr Dickson’s plea for anyone with symptoms to get tested, adding: “I will also be speaking to the Health Secretary later today to establish what further action is being considered to contain this outbreak and minimise the risk to the public.”