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News | 21st January 2021

Eskdale COVID-19 cases second highest

Esk valley comes second only to Gretna in the whole district

Esk valley comes second only to Gretna in the whole district

LANGHOLM and Eskdale recorded the second-highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in Dumfries and Galloway in the week up to last Saturday.

In Langholm and Eskdale between January 10 and 16 there were 26 new cases, a seven-day rate per 100,000 population of 694.8.

It comes behind Gretna which has 27 cases.

There were seven cases in Annandale East, 12 in Eastriggs, 25 in Annan East, three in Moffat, five in Lockerbie, zero to two in Annandale West and six in Lochmaben.

A drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Dumfries and Galloway offers some tentative hope amid what remains a very serious situation.

In the week ending January 16 there were 394 cases, down from 561 in the previous week and 801 in the week before that.

There is evidence of wide community transmission in the region and evidence that people identified as close contacts of cases are developing COVID-19. 

Jeff Ace, NHS Dumfries & Galloway chief executive, said: “It’s really much too early to take too much comfort from this drop in numbers.

“This is still a worryingly-high number of new cases and we’re still in a very grave and precarious position.

“The pressure on our health and social care services is increasing as the hundreds of new cases gradually translate into significant numbers of people suffering the most serious effects of the coronavirus. 

“This is because of the delay in time between someone developing COVID-19 and potentially becoming extremely unwell.

“Many of the people currently being admitted to hospital because of COVID-19 became positive towards the start of the year when the numbers of new cases hadn’t yet reached their record high.

“Our health and social care systems are being sorely tested by this and a plateauing of current rates would only perpetuate the strain, potentially over weeks, and be incredibly difficult to sustain.

“Any decline in numbers is extremely welcome and we’re grateful for all the efforts and sacrifices which continue to be made by everyone in Dumfries and Galloway in response to the situation.

“However, we need to keep bringing these numbers down. 

“FACTS guidance on wearing face coverings and hand hygiene is very important.

“It’s vital everyone remembers the coronavirus doesn’t spread by itself but, instead, takes advantage of people coming into close contact.

“Keeping our distance limits that opportunity and the national message as part of the lockdown couldn’t be clearer: stay at home and save lives.”

In Denholm and Hermitage, which includes Newcastleton and Liddesdale, there were nine positive cases, a seven-day positivity rate per 100,000 population of 220.4.

In Newcastleton the medical practice is vaccinating patients in their own homes.

Among them was 97-year-old Dr Arthur Bethune, the oldest resident in the village.

Dr Bethune was the first patient to be vaccinated and afterwards he was reported to be feeling well.

In the Scottish Borders there were  177 cases, a seven-day positivity rate per 100,000 population of 153.2.

Colin Smyth, South Scotland MSP, urged people to abide by the rules and highlighted the importance of ramping up the vaccination programme.

He renewed his call to speed up the delivery of support for businesses affected by the extra restrictions.

He said: “People will be dismayed and worn down by the news of more restrictions and these changes will be a further blow to businesses.

“I would urge everyone to continue to abide by the rules and stay at home as much as they can.

“As we’ve seen recently, this virus can spread at alarming rates and we must do all we can to help halt that spread.

“It’s really important that employers allow everyone, who can, to work from home and that requirement will now be strengthened in law.

“Most businesses remain closed so the government needs to get its act together to support companies which need it.

“It’s one thing for the government to announce schemes and grants but, so far, many of those haven’t even opened for applications, never mind paid out to businesses.

“After this announcement, that money will be needed in many sectors and it must be paid soon if businesses are to survive.”

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