GOOD progress is being made in addressing a COVID-19 cluster in Upper Nithsdale. However, advice is continuing to be offered around limiting spread, taking up testing and getting vaccinated.
Consultant in Public Health Dr Andrew Rideout said: “We don’t yet know how this cluster in Upper Nithsdale is going to play out.
“However, we’ve been very encouraged by the public response to the availability of extra testing, and are hoping that more people will make twice-weekly COVID testing part of their routine – helping to protect communities.
“Uptake of testing has worked really well along with our Test and Protect system.
“Our Test and Protect teams have helped identify virtually all chains of COVID transmission within the area, providing advice to close contacts to help limit any further spread.
“This should provide some degree of confidence that – while we need to remain cautious – we are able to go about our daily lives, including going to work and children attending school.”
Dr Rideout added: “People’s response has been great, but we do rely on everyone supporting the work of the Test and Protect team and following their directions.
“If you are identified as being COVID positive, this does unfortunately mean having to self-isolate with your household. And this is the entirety of your household – including members both old and very young.
“We very much appreciate the sacrifices people are making to help limit the spread of the virus, but it’s really important that we do.
“Beyond the immediate health risks, there is the potential impact of COVID on an already stretched health and social care system, the danger it poses to those most vulnerable in our communities, disruption to local businesses and employers, and the challenge it represents to the freedoms everyone has worked so hard to achieve.”
Additional testing continues to be made available in Upper Nithsdale, with a Mobile Testing Unit stationed at the Mill Hill Centre in Kelloholm until the end of tomorrow, Friday, and which will be at Sanquhar Academy on Saturday June 12 and at Kelloholm Primary School on Sunday June 13.
Anyone experiencing any symptoms of COVID should immediately self-isolate along with their household and arrange to be tested at the Mobile Testing Unit.
Meanwhile, testing continues to be available for people without symptoms via the fixed location sites.
Details can be found by visiting www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/
Nationally, support is there to allow everyone without symptoms to have two COVID tests a week, providing reassurance.
Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity, but it might be particularly valuable to those who are going to be interacting with vulnerable people – such as before visiting a loved one in hospital.
A continuing call is being made to take up opportunities to be vaccinated, as the vaccine provides the strongest defence against the virus.
Vaccinations are now underway among the under 40s, who are being provided with the Pfizer vaccine in line with national directions.
Anyone who is aged over 40 and is still to receive their first vaccination can do so by phoning the new local phoneline 01387 403090 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org