NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Rise in COVID-19 cases as vaccinations race against variant spread

A significant increase in COVID-19 cases has been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway – rising to stand at 239 in the week ending Sunday 27th June, up from 67 the week before.

Meanwhile, the numbers of close contacts has also increased, going up from 446 to 1142.

Public Health Consultant Dr Andrew Rideout said: “It’s been said before, but we really are now in a race.

“It’s a case of how quickly and widely we can get immunity established in our population, versus how fast this Delta Variant of the virus is able to spread within our region – impacting on people’s health, on businesses and on services.

“In the past week, we’ve recorded 257 (period 21/6 to 28/6) new COVID cases, found within every postcode sector of Dumfries and Galloway. We know that social interaction is the major reason for the spread, and that this was to be expected as restrictions eased.

“However, there is guidance that still applies, and at this crucial point in the battle with the coronavirus we would ask everyone to help delay its spread by considering what more they can do to prevent its chances of spreading, which largely takes place through person-to-person contact.”

Dr Rideout said: “As a result, the rate at which numbers will continue to grow relies on people being careful and following the continuing rules while immunity in the population continues to develop through the vaccination programme.

“Vaccinations help train the body’s own natural immune system to combat the virus. Anybody who comes into contact with COVID without having been vaccinated will not be facing it with that advantage.

“Although younger people generally tend not to be so badly affected by COVID, we have seen people of all ages test positive and with varying symptoms.

“We would therefore strongly encourage everyone aged 18 plus who has not yet had a vaccination to get in touch with us and make an arrangement to do so.

“Getting vaccinated is quick, free and easy, and helps not just protect you but also your loved ones, families and the wider community.

“Please phone the national COVID-19 Vaccination helpline to speak to an adviser by calling 0800 030 8013 from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Anyone over the age of 18 who resides in Scotland can self register online to get the vaccine – via the following web address nhsinform.scot/vaccineregistration.

Over the coming months a local multi-agency message to ‘Stay Safe this Summer’ is being promoted, reminding people about the simple steps that can help provide protection, particularly with increased social interaction as restrictions continue to ease. These include regular hand washing, wearing of face coverings and physical distancing, as well as the very important role of testing.

People are reminded to immediately self-isolate along with their household and arrange to be tested if they experience even the mildest symptoms of COVID-19.

However, everyone is now being encouraged to take a quick twice-weekly test, either using free self-test kits within their workplace or own homes or by visiting a testing location.

These tests give very quick results, and help provide an assurance around early or unseen spread of COVID-19. Although the virus might not affect one individual too badly, it could pose a very serious threat to the next person it encounters.

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/

For more information on testing arrangements, visit www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/