Social interaction is being linked to a further rise in COVID-19 cases in Dumfries and Galloway – with 67 new cases in the week ending Sunday 20 June.
This was up from 57 cases in the week before, while numbers of close contacts also increased from 410 to 446. In comparison, in the first week of March there were 2 cases and four close contacts.
Interaction during the Euros is among the factors contributing to an increasing number of cases impacting on the region’s communities, affecting local employers, the hospitality sector and schools.
Consultant in Public Health Dr Andrew Rideout said: “The new Delta Variant is more transmissible than previous versions of the virus, which means that it doesn’t take very much for it to move from person to person.
“That’s why it’s so important that we continue to follow the well known guidance around distancing, hand washing and wearing of face coverings in order to slow the spread while our vaccination programme has the time to complete first and second doses and provide the highest degree of protection.”
New local data has revealed just how transmissible the new variant is proving.
Dr Rideout said: “In terms of numbers, the majority of new cases are developing through encounters outwith households or the workplace.
“We’re currently dealing with a number of cases which result from interaction during the Euros, when a swell of excitement and camaraderie might have made it more difficult to ensure we were strictly adhering to the rules.
“However, it’s so important that we do keep following the rules at all times in order to help limit the spread and the resulting impact on our communities.
“As cases grow within the community, we’re starting to see people across a variety of ages being admitted to hospital with COVID.
“The response to increased cases puts real pressures on the ability for services to operate, and for businesses to function.
“What can we do to address it?
“Beyond firmly sticking to the rules around distancing, hand washing and wearing face coverings, a key to all of this is taking up quick and easy opportunities to get tested for COVID-19. This is particularly true if you’re planning to meet up with people as rules allow, or are perhaps planning to travel outwith the region.
“Twice weekly testing is available everywhere in Scotland for free. There’s a wide range of easy to access means, including simply picking up a kit from a local chemist. Making testing a part of your typical week can provide you with an assurance while also helping to safeguard your community.
“Our vaccination programme has been going really well, and we’re only too well aware of how serious a position we would be in if it wasn’t taking place.
“But we need everyone’s help to provide the programme with enough time to complete its work and allow us to live alongside this potentially very serious virus.”
For more information on testing arrangements, visit www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/