A DROP in the number of new COVID cases has offered some tentative hope amid what is still a very serious situation within Dumfries and Galloway.
In the week ending January 10 there were 561 new, additional positive cases – down from 801 in the previous week.
The number of new close contacts who were instructed to self-isolate also declined, standing at 862 compared to 1970.
However, NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace said: “It’s really much too early to take too much comfort from this drop in numbers. “This is still a worryingly high number of new cases, and we’re still in a very grave and precarious position. The pressure on our health and social care services is actually continuing to increase – as the hundreds of new cases gradually translate into significant numbers of people suffering the most serious effects of the coronavirus.
“This is because of the delay in time between someone developing COVID and potentially becoming extremely unwell. Many of the people currently being admitted to hospital because of COVID actually became positive towards the start of the year, when the numbers of new cases hadn’t yet reached their record high.
“Our health and social are systems are being sorely tested by this, and a plateauing of current rates would only perpetuate the strain – potentially over weeks, and incredibly difficult to sustain.
“Any decline in numbers whatsoever is extremely welcome, and we’re grateful for all the efforts and sacrifices which continue to be made by everyone across Dumfries and Galloway in response to the situation. However, we need to keep working to bring these numbers down.
“FACTS guidance around wearing of face coverings and hand hygiene is very important. It’s vital that everyone remembers the coronavirus does not spread by itself, but instead takes advantage of people coming into close contact. Keeping our distance limits that opportunity, and the national message as part of the lockdown couldn’t be clearer – stay home, and save lives.”
A total of 4886 COVID-19 tests were carried out in the week ending January 10.
The locally calculated positivity rate for Dumfries and Galloway is estimated at around 13.5%, down from 14.9 per cent the previous week.
New cases of COVID-19 cases are being identified in all four localities across Dumfries and Galloway – in Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewartry and Wigtownshire.
There is evidence of wide community transmission across the region, and evidence that people identified as close contacts of cases are developing COVID-19.