Public asked to remain vigilant as Covid cases continue to rise

Argyll and Bute council chief executive Pippa Milne.

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Members of the public across Highland and Argyll and Bute are being urged to remain cautious and continue to be vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19 as new confirmed cases for last week came close to hitting 600; 193 of these confirmed on Thursday August 19.

The cases are widespread across all of the NHS Highland area with Oban, Fort William, and the Isle of Bute are seeing particularly high rates.

Pippa Milne, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘Argyll and Bute communities and businesses have worked incredibly hard to keep infection levels low. The rise in cases is a reminder to continue to be vigilant.

‘From self-isolating to getting vaccinated and volunteering for testing, even if you don’t have any symptoms, we all have a part to play. By working together, we will keep infection rates low and enjoy life beyond Level 0.’

Health chiefs say there is no single situation driving the numbers up with sustained community transmission explaining the increase in cases.

As well as being vigilant for symptoms, members of the public are also being asked to remain cautious and minimise contacts during this period of high levels.

Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health for NHS Highland, said: ‘Whilst the number of people being admitted to hospital is lower than previous waves, the impact of Covid-19 on those affected, their families, 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 keep COVID numbers down.’

Dr Allison also asked that communities remain vigilant for symptoms. 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 range of symptoms including headache, sore muscles and joints, tiredness, sore throat, cold-like symptoms and diarrhoea and vomiting. Anyone who becomes unwell should isolate immediately and seek a PCR test.

‘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,’ added Dr Allison.