Cases of COVID-19 have 'multiplied dramatically' in Dumfries and Galloway according to the local health trust, placing the region near the top of national daily figures.
In the week ending January 3 a total of 801 new, positive cases of the coronavirus were identified in the region, up from 122 the week before.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace said: “This is a worrying situation, as we know with the trajectory of cases means things are almost certain to get worse before they get better.
“The situation could grow considerably worse, given that these current figures do not account for the further rate of increase we may see resulting from increased social interaction on Christmas Day.
“What we have seen in recent weeks is a relaxing of some restrictions in the region with the move to Level 1 in the national COVID protection framework, and this then followed by the identification of the new, even more highly transmissible strain of the coronavirus within Dumfries and Galloway.
“What the current situation means is that we all have to go even further in not just following the national directions around face coverings and hand hygiene, but also in really limiting our interactions – as this is how COVID spreads, and we know the new variant doesn’t allow any margin of error.
“As we see hospitals admitting increasing numbers of people with COVID, the message nationally couldn’t be clearer as Dumfries and Galloway joins the rest of mainland Scotland in a lockdown – to help save lives, stay at home as much as possible.”
The leader of Dumfries and Galloway council predicted in a tweet on Monday that weekly Covid figures for the region are 'likely to be extremely grim'.
In the week ending January 3 a total of 5721 COVID-19 tests were carried out. In addition to the 801 new positive cases, a total of 1970 close contacts were advised to self-isolate.
The locally calculated positivity rate for Dumfries and Galloway is estimated at about 14.9 per cent - up from 5.9 per cent the previous week.
As at 28/12/2020, the overall 7 day positivity rate is 450.1 per 100,000, compared to 65.2 the previous week.
Positive COVID-19 cases are present across all four locality areas in Dumfries and Galloway – Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewarty and Wigtownshire.
A considerable number of cases are located in the latter, with a total of 450 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Wigtownshire since December 31. There have also been 210 cases in Annandale and Eskdale, 80 in Nithsdale and 3 in Stewartry.
Stranraer care home outbreak
There has also been an outbreak reported at a Stranraer care home. with one person reported to have died. 31 residents at Thorney Croft Care Home have been confirmed as having tested positive for COVID-19, and 31 members of staff.
Martin McGuigan, Managing Director at Community Integrated Care which runs Thorney Croft Care Home said, “As soon as the outbreak developed, we took immediate action implementing a number of additional robust infection control measures including increased colleague testing and an ongoing decontamination schedule.
“It is, however, with great sadness, that we have lost a person we support as a result of the virus and our hearts go out to their loved ones, as well as our colleagues.
“We have been astounded by the continued incredible efforts and professionalism of all our colleagues who have done their utmost to support residents, families and each other through this incredibly challenging time.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we’re continuing to work closely with the Local Authority and Public Health teams to ensure that we are taking all necessary steps to protect everyone within the home and provide the additional support needed.”