COVID cases have been increasing in Dumfries and Galloway, likely driven by new sub-variants of the virus.
Staffing in areas such as health and social care has been impacted by the high rate of cases within the community.
Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “COVID has not gone away, and it’s still impacting on lives and the ability to deliver services.
“The situation in terms of health is now much improved, with the fantastic uptake of our vaccination programme still helping to limit the worst effects of COVID in the majority of cases.
“It’s extremely important everyone eligible continues to take up offers of booster vaccinations.
“However, COVID-19 remains highly transmissible – particularly the latest sub-variants. This has resulted in new cases and also reinfections. High levels of covid-19 infection in the community has led to an increase in patients in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, which does put additional pressure on our stretched services.
“Like anyone else, staff working within health and social care are not immune to the spread of COVID and this impacts on the ability to deliver services. It can result in unwelcome delays to treatment and care in already an incredibly busy system working to meet people’s needs.”
Ms White added: “Although we’ve relaxed a lot of the guidance, it remains vital to follow public health guidance to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if anyone has symptoms of a respiratory infection and have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities. Further details are available on NHS inform.
“This provides the best opportunity to limit spread and help protect those who might be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
“We are continuing to adjust to the presence of COVID, and although life has now largely returned to normal there are still some things we should and can do to protect our communities and their services.
“Other measures include cleaning our hands regularly, practicing good respiratory hygiene, aiming to have well-ventilated environments, and considering the use of a face covering in public settings to help prevent ourselves from unknowingly spreading COVID to others.
“Things are much better than they were, but we all need to try and ensure we do what we can to minimise the risk to ourselves, other people and our vital services.”