'Significant' surge in confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases across NHS Highland region sparks warning from health chiefs
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A "SIGNIFICANT" surge in Covid cases across NHS Highland is "concerning", health chiefs have warned.
They have urged people to do what they can to minimise the virus' spread after nearly 600 newly-confirmed cases were detected this week – with 193 recorded just yesterday.
The sudden increase is not due to any "single situation" but due to widespread presence of the virus across the region and "sustained community transmission" – with Fort William, Oban and the Isle of Bute particularly badly affected in the area covered by the health board.
Members of the public across the Highlands, Argyll and Bute are being urged to remain cautious and continue to be vigilant for symptoms. People are also being urged to minimise their contacts during this period of high levels.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health for NHS Highland, said: “We have seen quite a significant increase in the last few days in NHS Highland which is concerning.
"Whilst the number of people being admitted to hospital is lower than previous waves, the impact of Covid-19 on those affected their families, local schools and businesses remains significant.
“Everyone has played their part so well in keeping the numbers down which is why we are able to enjoy the new freedoms that we have. There are still lots of things we can all do to help limit the spread even though many of the previous restrictions have eased.
“Wearing face masks when inside or in crowded areas, regular hand washing, regular testing using LFD tests when you have no symptoms and, when invited, please come forward to get vaccinated. All of these will help us in keeping the Covid numbers down.”
Dr Allison also asked that communities remain vigilant for symptoms. The typical symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or fever and a loss of, or change in, normal taste or smell.
However, people with Covid-19 can present with a wide range of symptoms including headache, sore muscles and joints, tiredness, sore throat, cold-like symptoms and diarrhoea and vomiting. Anyone that becomes unwell should isolate immediately and seek a PCR test.
Dr Allison added: “This is a significant situation and we are expecting the case numbers to rise further with the recent relaxation of measures. Communities should remain vigilant. We do have a higher number of people in the area at the moment which is to be expected but I would really urge caution for everyone.”