A number of East Ayrshire Council employees caught COVID-19 through work after coming into contact with a person who had the virus or symptoms.

Ten cases of staff with coronavirus were reported up until July 19, according to a council paper presented to councillors this month.

It is understood workers were exposed to the infection through their job. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Scotland was notified of the cases.

A council report said incidents were reported to “HSE for employees diagnosed with COVID-19 due to occupational exposure to the virus.”

The incidents were revealed in a health and safety update contained in the East Ayrshire Performs report, which was put in front of ruling councillors at cabinet.

The exact role of the employees exposed to Covid was not released.

Amanda Lowe, Interim Head of Human Resources, East Ayrshire Council said:" I can advise that all 10 cases related to one outbreak in early May where all employees in one establishment were tested by Public Health following concerns that a number of service users had presented with symptoms. 

"All of the employees self-isolated in accordance with NHS and Scottish Government guidance and regular contact was maintained by their manager until they all returned to work.  Replacement cover was provided to ensure that essential services were delivered and liaison continued with Public Health.  Throughout the pandemic, employees have been issued with relevant PPE and they continue to wear it at all times."

Employers have a legal duty to report cases where it is believed an employee could have caught coronavirus at work. 

Overall, the number of health and safety incidents at the council fell dramatically – with only 139 recorded up to July 19.

Fourteen of them, including the 10 Covid cases, had to be reported to the HSE. The other four involved a slip, trip or fall, operator error, contact with a needle or sharp object, and sports activities.

Services delivered by the council are starting to return to normal levels since the pandemic kicked off in March but the local authority finances have been hit hard during lockdown.

The council’s health and social care team is expected to spend £2 million on personal protective equipment (PPE).

It is also estimated almost £1m will go on supporting residential care homes. Additional care at home staff is to cost £555,000.