Enhanced Covid-19 testing amid surging cases in north-east communities
Enhanced Covid-19 testing is being made available to residents in three north-east communities to combat surging cases of the virus.
Elrick and Westhill will have extra testing made available and people living there are being asked to work with health experts to protect their local communities.
Anyone who is feeling in anyway unwell – including those with a runny nose, headache or diarrhoea – are being asked to book a PCR test, as well as those with “classic” Covid-19 symptoms – a cough, fever or loss or taste of smell. Asymptomatic testing – for those who feel normal – is also available.
Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian said: “These areas are seeing a high number of cases and, from the data, this appears to be sustained and accelerating.
“If everyone pulls together in these areas now and comes forward for testing, we hope to keep it under control. We saw recently with the surge in Moray cases the part that asymptomatic testing has in breaking chains of transmission and ensuring as few people become infected as possible.
“We want to keep any third wave as small as possible in Grampian and, alongside the vaccine rollout, our best weapon against the virus is testing.”
Westhill Central is current seeing 393.4. cases per 100,000 people; in Elrick the figure is 1,350.7.
In Aberdeen City as a whole the figure is 127.7 and in Aberdeenshire it’s 54.4. The national figure, for the whole of Scotland, is 139.9.
Jillian added: “ “People coming forward for asymptomatic testing when they feel well or undertaking LFD testing at home is key in keeping cases in the region down.
“Get tested, get vaccinated and protect your community. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”
Public health consultant Derek Cox warned case numbers in Grampian could return to levels seen in January if they are not brought under control and said, regardless of hospitalisations, high case numbers could adversely impact on the NHS locally as staff have to self-isolate, due to cases in the community.
He said: “At the moment, modelling suggests that we could have 300 cases per day in Grampian in the coming weeks – if cases are spread equally around Scotland.
“That’s as bad as it was in January, when contact tracing was badly impacted due to the sheer volume of work.
“However we can avoid these problems if people take up the vaccine, undertake asymptomatic testing, social distance, wash hands and wear a mask.”
He added: “Some people seem to think we are past the pandemic and are safe – we are not. People need to be paying more attention to long Covid, a significant number of younger people, who are being affected now, are suffering from long Covid – that can affect their ability to work and we are seeing cases which have lasted more than a year.
To book a PCR test or to find out where you can access rapid LFD home test kits visit www.nhsgrampian.org/covid-19/covid-testing/ or phone 01224 558494.
When booking a PCR test, select the option stating you have been asked to do so by local public health team.