AN INCREASED number of new COVID-19 cases was seen in Dumfries and Galloway in the week ending Sunday July 18, up to 217 from 168 the week before.
Latest data shows that the highest numbers of new cases (28%) are being seen among young adults aged 18 to 29 – the majority of whom, unfortunately, are only likely to have received just one vaccination so far against the coronavirus.
Health professionals are urging people to get both vaccinations as soon as they are eligible, as this has proved to provide a higher degree of protection against the Delta Variant which is now accounting for the majority of cases in Dumfries and Galloway.
As COVID spreads, anyone who has not yet been vaccinated at all is being urged to act now – to help avoid not just the worst effects, but also the potential for lingering problems associated with Long COVID which can include difficulty breathing, fatigue, depression or anxiety and a range of other possible symptoms.
Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Andrew Carnon said: “For many months now we’ve been limiting our interactions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 – protecting the most vulnerable, protecting vital services and allowing vaccinations to take place.
“As restrictions continue to ease, and we’re mixing more, we become increasingly reliant on the vaccines having done their job of training our bodies to fight a virus which is present right across the region.
“Working to national directions, the vaccination programme prioritised the most vulnerable and oldest adults in our communities, before working down by age towards younger age groups.
“This means that our youngest adults have been provided the least protection so far, and this is where we’re seeing the highest number of new cases.
“We are working to provide second doses as close to the required eight week gap as possible, and this has proved to be very effective at preparing people for an encounter with the Delta Variant.
“Anyone not yet vaccinated is recommended to take up the opportunity now, as COVID is something we’re likely to be living alongside for some time to come.
“We’d also urge anyone who has been waiting more than eight weeks for their second jag to come forward as soon as possible.
“COVID-19 vaccination drop-in clinics are continuing to take place, and appointments can be scheduled.
“In addition, a very visible ‘pop-up’ vaccination clinic will be running in the car park of the Morrisons supermarket in Brooms Road, Dumfries, this Friday 23 July from 9.30 am to 4 pm, providing free, quick and easy vaccinations for anyone aged 18 plus, or 18 on or by October 31 2021.”
Meanwhile, everyone is asked to continue to follow the rules around wearing face coverings in indoor public settings such as shops and on public transport, and to continue to follow rules around physical distancing.
Details on directions as part of the region’s place in Level 0 can be found on this web-site https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-0/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6NmHBhD2ARIsAI3hrM0LAT_CVXNixEKAcxdpiR-ol59wfQh8WbLDArt2kxiJTiYevkKzycwaAlv7EALw_wcB and are also set out in this new locally-produced animated film https://youtu.be/VmUw0M63zig
Good advice continues to be around face coverings, physical distancing, maintaining good hand hygiene, and regular testing – encouraged twice weekly.
Full detail of all testing opportunities can be found by visiting www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing
Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate along with their household and arrange to be tested.
In terms of close contacts, numbers in the week ending 18 July from the week before up from 429 to 544.