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Covid has not gone away, warns NHS Highland director of public health

By Alan Hendry

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Dr Tim Allison, director of public health at NHS Highland: 'We continue to ask people to use Covid sense.' Picture: James Mackenzie
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health at NHS Highland: 'We continue to ask people to use Covid sense.' Picture: James Mackenzie

A Highland health chief has issued a reminder that Covid "has not gone away" even though most people are no longer testing for the virus.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS Highland, urged people to exercise caution such as staying at home when feeling ill.

Earlier this month, Scotland's health secretary Humza Yousaf emphasised that vaccination has been the most effective tool against Covid – while pointing out that numbers of infections had been rising nationally.

Dr Allison said: "Covid has not gone away.

"Testing for Covid has stopped for most people, although continued testing within places such as care homes and hospitals shows that cases are still appearing, and we will all hear of someone who has had to isolate due to symptoms or because of a positive Covid test.

"We continue to ask people to use Covid sense such as staying at home when we are ill, maintaining good hand-washing and use of tissues and good respiratory hygiene for coughing and sneezing."

Two weeks ago, Mr Yousaf said he was pleased that so many people from vulnerable groups had come forward for their spring booster.

“Vaccination has been our most effective tool against coronavirus," he said. "However, the degree of protection offered wanes over time.

“We are seeing higher numbers of infections across our communities at the moment, which is why booster vaccination is needed to maintain the best protection against Covid-19 for those at highest risk of severe effects from the virus."

Full details of the vaccination programme in the north can be found on the NHS Highland website.

Public Health Scotland continues to provide regular updates on Covid cases that are recorded in individual "neighbourhoods" throughout the country. Seven of these are in Caithness.

There were 53 new cases in Caithness during the most recent seven-day period (June 11-17).

Caithness North East had the highest number of positive tests, at 13. Caithness North West and Wick South each had 10 cases, Thurso East had seven and Wick North had five, while Caithness South and Thurso West had four each.

There were 17 positive tests in the Sutherland South neighbourhood, 12 in Sutherland East and six in Sutherland North and West.

Positive cases across the Highland local authority area from June 11-17 totalled 651, with a seven-day positive rate per 100,000 population of 276.5 for the region as a whole.

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