‘BEFORE you go take a lateral flow’ is the call being made after new cases of COVID-19 in Dumfries and Galloway rose once again – even before the arrival of the Omicron variant.
Being fully vaccinated and taking a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) every time you head out is the advice, after the number of new cases rebounded to 609 in the week ending Sunday December 05.
This followed a drop in the previous week from 795 to 582.
Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “Worryingly, our COVID case numbers have increased again – even before we’ve identified any cases of the new Omicron variant.
“It’s only a matter of time until it arrives here, as it’s now present across much of the rest of Scotland and dose appear to spread more easily than delta.
“It’s vital that everyone is as fully vaccinated as eligible, and that those aged 16 to 17 know they must book themselves in via the national portal for their second jag – as these will NOT be delivered through the schools vaccination programme.
“Likewise, those aged 40 plus, unpaid Carers and household contacts of immune-suppressed need to book by accessing the portal at https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp or phoning 0800 030 8013.
“The other key action is to test, test, test. Taking a Lateral Flow Test before we head out can pick up cases early and helps prevent spread.
“We really want everyone to be taking an LFT before they head out anywhere. We are still learning about the health impacts of the Omicron variant. Until the picture is clearer we need to be cautious and slow the spread of this variant. This means that a slightly different approach is currently needed to manage contacts of omicron/possible omicron cases. This includes removal of self isolation exemption for some contacts. Although this is necessary to slow transmission, this has the potential to seriously impact on our society, businesses and services if we start seeing high numbers, so we must take precautions to limit its spread. If you are a case/contact of a case of Omicron or suspected Omicron please follow the advice given by our Test and Protect and Health Protection Teams.
“So the message is, get fully vaccinated and help prevent the spread through regular testing, wearing a face covering in indoor public areas and on public transport, maintaining hand hygiene, ventilating well if meeting up indoors and considering our social interactions – which provides opportunities for COVID to spread.
“We have a chance to build up our defences before Omicron arrives here, so we need to be sure not to waste this opportunity to protect ourselves, our communities, local businesses and our essential services.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 are:
A raised temperature
A new and continuous cough
Change to or loss of sense of taste and or smell
Regular asymptomatic testing for COVID provides assurance and helps to identify cases at the earliest opportunity. Details on the full range of testing opportunities can be found by visiting the website www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/
Full details on opportunities to be vaccinated can be found by visiting the website www.nhsdg.co.uk/vaccines/