Warning issued to Moray residents as number of Covid-19 cases rises
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RESIDENTS in Moray are being warned not to let the area get "left behind" as Scotland exits lockdown, amid rising Covid-19 cases locally.
Leading health, council and tourism figures met today to issue a warning to the public, with Moray having recorded more than 100 new coronavirus cases since April 10.
Moray currently has the fourth highest rate of Covid-19 per head of population in Scotland and is accounting for 50 per cent of the cases across the NHS Grampian region, despite being home to just 17 per cent of people.
Although cases are scattered across the region, Elgin has seen the majority.
Susan Webb, NHS Grampian’s director of public health, said: “We really are on a worrying trajectory in Moray and it is vital everyone ensures they are sticking to the rules so the area isn’t left behind as the rest of the country unlocks.
"Until now, Moray has escaped the worst of the pandemic but perhaps we are more complacent than other areas because of this.
“It is vital we get the virus back under control and don't let it run away from us.”
Sam Thomas, chief nurse for Moray, urged people to continue to work hard to suppress the virus.
She said: “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.
“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 that we have less immunity in the wider population and a higher susceptibility to the virus at this point.
“Ultimately, we have 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.”
With non-essential shops having just reopened on Monday, Visit Moray Speyside CEO Laurie Piper is keen to ensure that the local economy is not hit by a regional lockdown.
He added: "I've spoken to many businesses over the past months who have spent a significant amount of time and money in preparing to reopen. The damage a lockdown would do to these hard-working businesses is huge.
"This is a warning sign for us, we have time to sort it. I don't want the future to look like past few months."
A number of cases in Moray have been linked to education settings, with 28 cases confirmed at Elgin Academy since April 10.
Roddy Burns, Moray Council's chief executive, reassured parents. He said: "We have got a very robust process for risk assessing cases.
"We are working closely with colleagues at NHS Grampian and Public Health, who take the lead on this."
People with mild symptoms can come forward for testing by going to nhsinform.scot or by calling 0800 028 2816.
NHS Grampian is continuing to offer rapid testing for people who do not have symptoms but have moved this to Williamson Hall on Moss Street, in Elgin, to make it more accessible. Opening times and other locations in the region can be found at www.moray.gov.uk/Covid19.
Extended coronavirus symptoms include: general weakness, a sore throat, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, a headache, chills, muscle pain, a runny nose or a dry 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.
Anyone with classic symptoms (a continuous cough, fever or a loss of taste or smell) should get a test. Their household, including any extended household, should all self-isolate until 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.