A DECLINE in new COVID-19 cases has been recorded within Dumfries and Galloway, standing at 181 in the week ending Sunday July 4.
Despite the fall from 239 the week before, local health experts describe the case numbers as ‘worryingly high’ – warning that we are most likely not yet past the peak of the third wave of the coronavirus.
Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Andrew Carnon said: “We asked people to help hold back the wave of COVID-19 in Dumfries and Galloway – buying us time while the local vaccination programme continues.
“People’s actions in following guidance around physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, hand sanitising and regular testing have undoubtedly been helping. However, local case numbers are still worryingly high, and we can see elsewhere in Scotland that cases are continuing to increase, and in some areas at a very fast rate.
“This increase in cases is translating into an increase in hospital admissions, placing additional strain on an already very stretched health and social care system.
“Our vaccination team have now concluded the originally scheduled first dose COVID vaccinations to adults aged 18 plus in Dumfries and Galloway.
Second dose vaccinations continue to be provided at an interval of eight weeks from the first, and we’d ask everyone to continue doing all that they can to limit COVID spread while this takes place.”
This means that people should continue to wear face coverings on public transport and in shops and other indoor public areas, and that they should continue to physically distance. Other guidance includes regular hand-washing and testing, with the full range of testing options set out at www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/
No changes to current guidance in Scotland are expected until July 19, with an update from the First Minister planned for next Tuesday July 13.
Anyone not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 is being strongly encouraged to take up the opportunity, by registering online at https://register.vacs.nhs.scot/ by speaking directly to the local team by calling the local helpline on 01387 403090 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by attending one of the drop-in clinic listed at the web-page http://www.nhsdg.co.uk/vaccines/
Everyone is reminded that while vaccines help to train the body’s own immune system to fight the virus, they do not provide 100 per cent immunity.
Anybody who comes into contact with COVID without having been vaccinated will be facing it without any of the advantage provided by two or even one vaccination dose.
Dr Carnon said: “Even those who have received both vaccinations can still contract the virus. Although the vaccine should hopefully help people avoid the worst of its effects, they can still pass the virus on to others.
“This is why it is important that everyone continues to follow all the guidance even once vaccinated, and, importantly, isolates along with their household and arranges to be tested if they experience any symptoms.”
Please visit the following website to find the full range of testing opportunities available within Dumfries and Galloway, including a list of local pharmacists where you can simply pop in and pick up a free testing kit for your own piece of mind: www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing
A comprehensive collection of locally originated advice on how to protect yourself and others over the summer months has been developed by the local Public Health team, and is also now available by visiting the website www.nhsdg.co.uk/covid-19/
In the week ending Sunday July 4 the number of close contacts of positive cases still remained high – standing at 809 compared to 1142 the week before