9 October 2020
A CONTINUING increase in the number of COVID-19 cases is being seen within Dumfries and Galloway, and this situation is being monitored very closely.
As a result of this monitoring, a number of confirmed cases have been identified in Stranraer in recent days and several close contacts of these cases have been asked to self isolate for a period of 14 days. The identified cases relate to a number of settings within Stranraer, and while it is possible to identify linkages between many of these cases there is a concern that community transmission could be taking place.
Increased testing via the Mobile Testing Unit is set to be made available in the Stranraer area over this weekend and into the start of next week.
Meanwhile, to protect patients and staff, the difficult decision has been taken to suspend visiting to Galloway Community Hospital.
In addition, in order to protect residents in care homes in Stranraer, it is with great regret that it has also been determined that indoor visiting to care homes located in Stranraer should also be suspended.
This action is for an initial period of fourteen days and will be subject to review.
Valerie White, Interim Director of Public Health, said: “I am aware that the decisions regarding visiting will cause a level of anxiety and disappointment among hospital patients, their families, care home residents and their loved ones. However, we must ensure that we do everything we can to protect our patients at the Galloway Community Hospital, our Care Home residents, staff and their families as we continue to address the challenges that COVID-19 presents.
“To help investigate this increase in cases, we will increase testing availability to members of the public via mobile testing units over the coming days. Our local Test and Protect team will continue to work with positive cases, identify their close contacts and provide relevant advice and support regarding self isolation to prevent further transmission to the community.”
Ms White acknowledges that the local community will be extremely concerned about this situation and emphasises that everyone must play their part in the fight against COVID-19. In particular she stresses that any individual with symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, must self isolate and arrange a test and work with the local Test and Protect Team if they receive a positive result.
These symptoms are a temperature, a continuous cough and change to or loss of sense of taste and/or smell. Symptoms of the coronavirus can be extremely mild. If anyone is in any doubt about the possibility of having the virus, we would encourage them to progress through the testing process.
Testing will be available from Saturday to Tuesday 11 am to 4 pm at Ashwood House, Stranraer, DG9 7JJ. If possible, people should pre-register for a test, but testing will also be available for those who turn up on site without pre-registration.
Appointments via the mobile testing unit can be made each day from 9.30 am by logging on to the website:
Anyone who is concerned about symptoms can get advice through the www.nhsinform.scot/ website or by phoning NHS-111.
Ms White also notes the importance of following FACTs guidance. She highlights the importance of observing new restrictions which mean we cannot meet up inside other households, and stresses that adhering to the national restrictions in place is critical to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our colleagues, and our communities.