Residents in Moray are being warned not to let the region “get left behind” as the country unlocks, amid surging Covid-19 cases in the region.
NHS Grampian has confirmed that, since 10 April, the area has seen more than 100 new cases, with around half of those in the last seven days as the infection rate increases locally.
Moray currently has one of the highest rates of Covid-19 in the country and is well ahead of the rest of the NHS Grampian region. In the last week Moray accounted for close to 50% of Grampian’s cases – but is home to less than 17% of the population.
50 in 100,000
NHS Grampian said the rate per 100,000 people in the area currently sits at 50.1. In Aberdeen City the rate is 15.7 while Aberdeenshire is at 8.4.
Although cases are scattered across the region, Elgin has seen the majority. As a result, NHS Grampian is expanding testing and urging those with symptoms including sore throats, headaches and diarrhoea to book tests immediately, as well as encouraging people to take up asymptomatic testing.
NHS Grampian’s Director of Public Health, Susan Webb said: “We really are on a worrying trajectory in Moray and it is vital everyone ensures they are sticking to the rules to ensure the area isn’t left behind as the rest of the country unlocks.
“There is a real fear, that with unlocking and the May Day weekend, if individuals don’t act responsibly and stick with the guidelines they could create the perfect storm in the area. Until now Moray has escaped the worst of the pandemic, but we could now see Moray get left behind as the country unlocks.
“Due to this rise, we’re extending our usual testing service. As well as asking those with the usual COVID symptoms to get tested, we need those experiencing ‘mild or extended symptoms’ to come forward for testing. This wider range of symptoms includes chills, fever, a dry or productive cough, sore throat, headache, runny nose, shortness of breath, general weakness, muscle pain, diarrhoea, or loss of taste or smell to book a PCR test immediately. You can do this online by going to nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 if you cannot get online.
“We continue to offer rapid testing for people who do not have symptoms and we’ll be moving our site for this to Williamson Hall, Moss Street in Elgin from today, to make it more accessible. You can find opening times and other locations in the region at www.moray.gov.uk/Covid19
“So if people, who have no symptoms, are out shopping or getting a coffee we’d encourage them to pop past to get a test and offer themselves some reassurance and help protect the community from those asymptomatic cases.
“It is vital we get the virus back under control in Moray and not let it run away from us.”
Sam Thomas, Chief Nurse for Moray added: “Residents in Moray have done exceptionally well in protecting both themselves and the region’s health care to this point, it is vital that we don’t let that slip as we continue to work and live with COVID-19 and the current levels of community transmission we are seeing in Moray.
“If you have any symptoms at all please go and get tested – it protects not only your family, neighbours, friends, but also our hospitals, businesses, care homes and services across Moray. It cannot be stressed enough how much controlling spread has been allowing us to restart other parts of the health care system locally.
“Moray to date has had a lower number of cases than most regions in Scotland seeing less community transmission and a high uptake of vaccination across the population and it could well be, as a result of this success, we have less immunity in the wider population and a higher susceptibility to the virus at this point.
“Ultimately we’ve Identified an increasing number of cases and we need to act now to ensure it does not continue to have a larger impact on the region and the services we provide.”
Moray Council’s Chief Executive, Roddy Burns, said: “To get this under control before it escalates any further we need to get as many people tested as possible – it is especially vital if people are experiencing any symptoms at all. We need to hit this hard and catch this early.
“We do not want this to escalate and impact our ability to open up Moray’s healthcare services or economy. If each of us takes personal responsibility to protect ourselves we’ll be able to let our businesses thrive and welcome back tourists.
“As hard as it may feel, don’t meet people indoors, don’t hug each other, don’t meet in large groups. We’ve come so far and we need to keep going until we get to the end.”
Follow the guidelines
Laurie Piper, CEO of Visit Moray Speyside said: “Moray’s tourism businesses are vital for the local economy and sustain thousands of people’s livelihoods – it’s crucial that everyone follows the guidelines including those around social distancing and mask wearing, and by getting tested where appropriate.
“We must do all we can to protect the region and let us start to open up as planned. We can’t afford to let the hard work and sacrifices of the past months be lost”.
Book a test
Those with any of the symptoms listed below should book a test, via nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 if you cannot get online and must not attend asymptomatic testing sites. Those with both classic and extended symptoms in Moray should immediately book a test via nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 if you cannot get online.
Extended symptoms include:
- General weakness
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Diarrhoea • Headache
- Muscle pain
- Runny nose
- Dry or productive cough
When booking a test due to these symptoms, individuals should select the “My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test” option.
While the individual experiencing the symptoms should self-isolate until the test result is returned there is no need for the rest of the individual’s household to self-isolate.
Classic symptoms include:
- Continuous cough
- Loss of taste of smell
The individual and their whole household, including any extended or bubble members, should self-isolate immediately self-isolate until the test results are returned. In the result of a positive case from either set of symptoms the affected individual and their whole household, including any extended or bubble members, should self-isolate immediately. They will be further guided by Test and Protect.