KEEP wearing face coverings in indoor public settings is the call to people in Dumfries and Galloway – as COVID-19 case numbers continue to remain very high.
In the week ending Sunday March 14 there was a total of 1274 new cases in the region, down slightly from the 1308 the previous week but still up significantly from the 939 the week before that.
Consultant in Public Health Dr Andrew Rideout said: “COVID cases in the region remain high in Dumfries and Galloway, with outbreaks right across our communities.
“Against the backdrop of high numbers of cases across Scotland, the call is clear – to keep wearing face coverings in indoor public settings. This includes the likes of in shops, supermarkets, takeaways, on public transport like trains and buses, in taxis, in churches, in hair salons, and in pubs and restaurants when not seated at your table. They must also continue to be worn when visiting hospitals and care homes.
“The Scottish Government has extended the requirement to continue wearing face coverings in these settings, in response to the concerns right now over high numbers of cases.
“Wearing a face covering stops you from unknowingly passing COVID on to those who are more vulnerable if they catch COVID – they may not be immediately obvious, such as those people who have had an organ transplant or are taking certain medicines. Please be considerate – wearing a face covering helps limit the spread, and demonstrates you care what happens to other people. If you are able to, and even if you feel fine, please wear one.
“Both locally and nationally, we are carefully monitoring the situation.”
Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) continue to be available free to the public until April 18, and after that will continue to remain free for purposes including clinical care, for health and social care workers and for people visiting vulnerable individuals in care homes or hospitals.
Until the end of April, people with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test.
Vaccinated close contacts of someone with COVID-19 should continue to test daily for seven days with LFDs.
People who have symptoms of COVID-19 will still be able to book PCR tests in the usual way until 30 April. From that date, test sites will close and people with symptoms will no longer be advised that they need to seek a test.
The public health advice for people who feel unwell will be to stay at home until they feel better, to reduce the risk of infecting other people.
Dr Rideout said: “People are still being admitted to hospital to receive treatment for COVID. There are still people who have not been vaccinated at all or who have not yet been fully vaccinated.
“It’s important that we all seek to be as fully vaccinated as possible, in case we are exposed. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can lower your risk of getting and spreading the virus. Vaccines can also help prevent serious illness.
“All steps have been taken to ensure that vaccines are safe and effective for people aged five years and above, and letters are now going out to parents of children aged 5 to 11 inviting them to attend scheduled vaccination sessions over the Easter holidays.
“Please note that vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds are not available through COVID-19 drop-in clinics.
“This also applies for the latest booster jags which from next week will be provided to people aged 75 and above, residents of older adult care homes and people aged 12 plus who are immunosuppressed.”
Upcoming vaccination drop-in sessions are as follows:
Sanquhar Community Hall – Wednesday 16/03/22 – 13:30 – 15:30
Annan, Charles Street – Wednesday 16/03/22 – 13.30 – 16.30
Newton Stewart Cottage Hospital – Wednesday 16/03/22 – 13.30 – 15.30
Castle Douglas Town Hall – Wednesday 16/03/22 – 13.30 – 16.30
Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall, Dumfries – Thursday 17/03/22 – 13:30 – 16:30
Moffat Cottage Hospital – Thursday 17/03/22 – 13:30 – 16:30
Kirkcudbright Cottage Hospital – Thursday 17/03/22 – 13.30 – 16.30
Newton Stewart Cottage Hospital – Thursday 17/03/22 – 13.30 – 15.30
Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall, Dumfries – Friday 18/03/22 – 13:30 – 16:30
Canonbie Village Hall – Friday 18/02/22 – 13.30 – 15.45
Castle Douglas Town Hall – Friday 18/02/22 – 13.30 – 16.30
Drop-ins may require queuing, and with vaccinations as vaccine supplies allow. People are advised to dress warmly.
Book your booster now using the national portal https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp, or by calling the free number 0800 030 8013.
The local helpline can handle a limited number of enquiries for anyone experiencing problems with the national system – calling 01387 403090 or emailing email@example.com