Covid Scotland: Dumfries and Galloway drop in cases ‘not enough’

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Cases of Covid-19 have dropped within Dumfries and Galloway – but not far enough and not quickly enough, according to health officials.

In the week ending January 17, there was a total of 432 new positive cases identified in the region, down from 561 the previous week. 

But it has been warned that hospitals are still under “huge strain” from new admissions.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace said people must “go further and do more”.

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He said: “It seems wrong when we’ve had such a great public response and when numbers are dropping to then ask people to go further and do more – but it really is vital that they do. 

“What we’re seeing just now is proof is that people hold the power to affect the trajectory of this regionwide outbreak. The truth is, what happens in Dumfries and Galloway is down to every one of us, individually, and our actions. 

“In the past week we had up to 70 cases of COVID in hospital at a single point, which may not sound a lot in national terms but is a huge impact on a small region like ours, with much smaller scale systems. 

“Even with this fall in numbers it will take time for that to translate into fewer cases needing urgent treatment. And if we level out at these current rates, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to sustain, or to see an immediate path out of lockdown – as cases would likely take off again from a far higher starting point than when this outbreak began. 

“It’s hugely important everyone creates as much distance from one another as possible in order to halt transmission. 

“And crucially, if you have any symptoms, even if these are mild – a raised temperature, new and continuous cough, change to or loss of sense of taste and/or smell – please immediately self-isolate and arrange a test. 

WATCH: NHS Dumfries and Galloway boss paints ‘grim picture’ as region sees cases surge

“So many people in this outbreak are experiencing very minor symptoms, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t potentially cause serious illness for anyone else they expose to the virus. 

“We have the mobile testing units operating daily, a new fixed-site walk-through centre in Dumfries, and the availability of home test kits. 

“So please, make use of these resources to protect your loved ones, friends, neighours, colleagues and communities.” 

In the week ending January 17 a total of 774 number of close contacts were advised to self isolate, down from 862 in the previous week. 

The locally calculated positivity rate for Dumfries and Galloway is estimated around 9.2 per cent, and as at 14/01/2021 the overall seven day positivity rate was 285.5 per 100,000. 

Positive Covid-19 cases are present across all four locality areas in Dumfries and Galloway – in Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewartry and Wigtownshire. 

There is evidence of wide community transmission across the region, and there is evidence that people identified as close contacts of cases are developing Covid-19. 

It comes after Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the number of cases in Dumfries and Galloway had been “galloping away” at an “alarming rate.”

Mr Swinney, giving the regular Covid-19 briefing, stressed while infection numbers remained high, the lockdown restrictions were “vital”.

He said: “They are the single most important way in which we can reduce case numbers and ease some of the pressure on our health and social care services.”

Scotland has recorded 89 deaths from coronavirus and 1,636 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 5,468.

Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, Mr Swinney said 168,219 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 166,583 the previous day.

The daily test positivity rate is 7%, down from 7.5% on the previous 24 hours.

Of the new cases, 510 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 328 in Lanarkshire, and 182 in Lothian.

There are 2,004 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up one in 24 hours, and 161 patients are in intensive care, up five.

Mr Swinney added that 334,871 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

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