Warnings have been issued a local lockdown could be imposed in Moray unless Covid cases are brought under control.
The region currently has one of the highest infection rates in the country and is currently accounting for half of all NHS Grampian cases – despite being home to less than 17% of the population.
Health officials have revealed that Elgin has had the majority of the cases but have stressed they are spread across the region.
Within the last 20 days, more than 100 new cases have been detected in Moray while totals drop in the resto of the country.
Today NHS Grampian revealed the source of more than a third of the cases is a mystery – raising the concern of community transmission.
The rate per 100,000 people in the area currently sits at 50.1.
In Aberdeen City the rate is 15.7 while Aberdeenshire is at 8.4.
Now the health board is expanding its testing regime and is urging those with symptoms including sore throats, headaches and diarrhea to book tests immediately, as well as encouraging people to take up asymptomatic testing.
Concerns weekend could bring ‘perfect storm’
Warnings have been issued by health officials, Moray Council and Visit Moray Speyside that there is a now risk of the region “being left behind” with a local lockdown when restrictions in the rest of the country ease further next month.
Susan Webb, NHS Grampian’s director of public health, said: “We really are on a worrying trajectory in Moray and it’s vital everyone ensure they are sticking to the rules.
“There is a real fear, that with unlocking and the May Day weekend, if individuals don’t act responsibly and stick with the guidelines they could create the perfect storm in the area.
Warning amid rising Covid-19 cases in #MorayResidents in Moray are being warned not to let the region “get left…
“About two thirds of cases we are able to connect and identify a source but with more than a third of the cases we are not clear where the individual may have picked it up.
“It’s been a long winter and we are looking forward to being able to do more as restrictions ease
“If we’re not able to get the numbers under control then we will have to consider whether it’s appropriate to ease them.
“If the numbers stay as they are then we wouldn’t be able to ease the restrictions.”
‘We need to hit this hard and catch this early’
Tests can be booked by visiting nhsinform.scot or calling 0800 028 2816.
Testing is still being offered to those without symptons with the rapid testing site moving to Williamson Hall on Moss Street in Elgin to make it more accessible.
Opening times and other locations are available at: www.moray.gov.uk/Covid19
Ms Webb added: “So if people, who have no symptoms, are out shopping or getting a coffee we’d encourage them to pop past to get a test and offer themselves some reassurance and help protect the community from those asymptomatic cases.
“It is vital we get the virus back under control in Moray and not let it run away from us.”
The message has been echoed by Moray Council.
Chief executive, Roddy Burns, said: “To get this under control before it escalates any further we need to get as many people tested as possible – it is especially vital if people are experiencing any symptoms at all. We need to hit this hard and catch this early.
“We do not want this to escalate and impact our ability to open up Moray’s healthcare services or economy. If each of us takes personal responsibility to protect ourselves we’ll be able to let our businesses thrive and welcome back tourists.