Door-to-door Covid-19 testing in Elgin could be next step as Moray at point of 'uncontrolled, sustained community transmission'
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PUBLIC health experts at NHS Grampian have warned that Moray is now seeing "uncontrolled, sustained community transmission" of Covid-19.
An incident management team has been launched in an effort to bring the virus back under control in the region.
The region now has 79.3 cases per 100,000 – East Dunbartonshire has the second highest with 37.7, while neighbouring Aberdeenshire has 10.3 and Highland is at 11.4.
Deputy director of public health at NHS Grampian Chris Littlejohn said door-to-door testing was being considered for Elgin, the epicentre of the spread.
Mr Littlejohn said: "In Moray we are now seeing uncontrolled, sustained community transmission, current restrictions not are containing it, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.
"We are seeing hospitalisations from this – including in the under-50s – and we will see deaths if the situation is not brought under control.
"We are urging everyone to #ProtectMoray and get tested, even if they have no symptoms.
"We hope that by intervening further now we can avoid the possibility of further restrictions or a continuation of level three in Moray – but we need to act now and we need the people of Moray to act with us.
"Although Elgin is the epicentre of the spread, we are now seeing rising levels in places including Lossiemouth, Buckie and Keith.
"We are writing to businesses encouraging them to support us in getting the workforce tested, we are deploying extra mobile testing units and we are continuing with our enhanced testing in the region.
"As a next step we are heavily considering door-to-door testing in Elgin and look at how we can facilitate that."
He added: "Since April 10 we have seen 210 cases in Moray. More than half of those have come in the last eight days alone. This is a rapidly accelerating situation.
"Test positivity in Moray is at 3.2 per cent – across Scotland that figure is close to just 1 per cent – and the R-rate in Moray is at 1.8, so every person in Moray that becomes infected is, on average, passing it on to two other people.
"Analytics have shown us many people in the region have returned to their workplaces, rather than working from home. It remains the advice people should work from home where possible and we really need people to do that, where they can."
Mobile testing units will be visiting towns and villages around the region in the coming days. Details on dates and times will be published shortly online and across social media.
NHS Grampian is continuing to ask anyone in Moray with any symptoms of illness, not just those of Covid-19 – including headaches, diarrhoea, sore throat, runny nose – to isolate and book a test immediately. People without symptoms are continuing to be asked to take up asymptomatic testing.
For the latest information on testing in Moray or to book a test visit www.moray.gov.uk/Covid19.
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
• 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.