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NHS Grampian issues a warning over case numbers as the Delta variant is now the dominant strain of virus

By David Porter

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Everyone in Grampian is being urged to show caution, as cases of Covid-19 continue to increase.

Dr Derek Cox, Consultant in Public Health, said: “At the end of May, we were seeing case numbers sitting around eight or nine a day.

"We are now seeing daily cases at three times that.

"We need to take action now, before we ‘catch up’ with other parts of the country.

“The highly infectious Delta variant is now the dominant strain in Grampian, accounting for some 80 per cent of cases.

"This is concerning for a number of reasons: this variant is more than 60 per cent more infectious than the Alpha variant; it appears to be more resistant to the available vaccines, which means there is a greater need for everyone to get both doses; and emerging evidence suggests that the Delta variant may be associated with higher rates of hospitalisation (perhaps up to double) than the Alpha variant, even taking account of vaccination.

“I know there will be those who will point to the very low numbers of people currently in hospital and say we are making an undue fuss.

"The simple fact is, the third wave is here, but we have a window of opportunity to slow it’s progress across Grampian and give as many people as possible the opportunity to get both doses of Covid-19 vaccine.”

Aberdeen City Covid case map
Aberdeen City Covid case map

NHS Grampian has committed to taking the following actions, alongside public sector partners -

Make testing as available as possible.

In addition to the currently available testing centres a mobile testing centre is opening in Banchory and Stonehaven from June 12 to 16 and a testing service is opening in Aboyne Area Office from today to June 18.

Details of how to arrange a test are at Community Testing with no COVID-19 symptoms

Anyone who has symptoms should arrange a PCR test at a government testing centre or by ordering a test through the post.

However, all members of the public who have no symptoms are strongly urged to get a supply of LFD tests and to do the test twice weekly.

LFD tests can also be picked up from participating community pharmacies.

People can find their nearest pharmacy at https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.html

Dr Cox added: “Our experience in Moray has shown that if we work hand-in-hand with the community, then we can make a real difference.

Grampian Covid case map
Grampian Covid case map

"As such, I am encouraging everyone in Grampian to consider the following:

"When invited people should go for the vaccination.

"We have seen a rising number of appointments not being taken up, as we move down the age cohorts.

"Younger people are still at risk of hospitalisation and of developing Long Covid and should not assume that they don’t need to get vaccinated. "Appointments are now being issued to the first batch of 18-29 year olds to register for SMS/email alerts through the national portal.

Just because people are allowed to do some things does not mean that they should do these things.

So people should -

Avoid unnecessary travel outwith their own area, and especially to the Central Belt of Scotland and to England

Avoid crowded indoor places - If it looks too crowded, it is too crowded

Limit the numbers of people mixing at home

Continue with the usual precautions of social distancing and use of face coverings.

Apart from mixing in households these precautions still apply in shops, public transport, circulation areas in public buildings and workplaces.

Good ventilation and physical distancing are absolutely vital.

“Our choices right now will determine how quickly we can progress towards something approaching a normal life once again.”

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