A notable increase in COVID-19 cases has been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway.
In the week ending Sunday August 8, a total of 274 new cases was recorded – up from 212 the week before.
Numbers of identified close contacts have meanwhile shot up, rising from 501 the previous week to stand at 679.
Cases had been remaining stubbornly high at just under 220 for the previous three consecutive weeks, with data from this last week representing a move in the wrong direction.
Public Health Consultant Dr Andrew Rideout said: “We had been hoping that we would see cases starting to move down, following a sustained fall across Scotland as a whole.
“Instead, we’ve seen case numbers increase.
“We’re seeing positive cases right across the region, and not focused in any particular areas. However, we are seeing these positive cases having an impact on businesses and services, including health and social care.
“Key right now, thankfully, is that these cases are not translating into the same numbers of very sick people as we saw in previous waves – and this is undoubtedly due to the vaccination programme.
“To be clear, getting vaccinated doesn’t mean that you can’t catch COVID-19. What it does mean is that your body is better prepared to encounter the coronavirus, and that hopefully you won’t experience its worst effects.
“We are still seeing people being admitted to hospital with COVID, though, which is placing additional demands on an already highly stretched health and social care system.
“Lockdown measures undoubtedly help reduce spread, and while many of the legal requirements have been lifted the principles remain the same. Our interactions give COVID-19 the chance to spread, so please be as careful as possible.
“Use your judgement around your interactions, maintain good hand hygiene, wear a face covering in indoor public spaces and on public transport, get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so, and please make full use of regular COVID-19 testing opportunities.
“If you are returning to secondary school next week, national guidance is that all pupils and staff should take an LFT test one to two days before returning and then followed with regular twice weekly tests.
“This can help identify cases before school restarts. It can also help pick up cases with no symptoms.
“Senior pupils aged 16 and 17 can now be vaccinated against COVID-19, and can take up that opportunity via drop-in centres running across the region.
“Most importantly, immediately self-isolate along with your household and arrange for a PCR test if you experience any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
“It is important to note that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can still contract the coronavirus, but may experience much milder cold-like symptoms.
“It is still very important that anyone experiencing the mildest symptoms of COVID self-isolates and arranges to be tested.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
An increased temperature
A new, continuous cough
Loss of or change to sense of taste and/or smell
For full information on testing availability visit the website www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/
For full information on vaccination opportunities, visit the website www.nhsdg.co.uk/vaccines/
A total of 115,318 first dose vaccinations have been delivered, representing 94.3 per cent of the population aged 18 plus.
For information vaccination options across the region, visit www.nhsdg.co.uk/vaccines/