NHS Dumfries and Galloway is well-prepared for any positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and is asking the public to play their part in protecting themselves and each other.
While all tests in Scotland have so far been negative, Deputy Medical Director Dr Grecy Bell says an outbreak is highly likely based on the spread of infection in other countries.
Dr Bell said: “We have well-developed protocols in place to deal with any such illness, and we are providing support to staff both in hospital settings and in the community, including our GPs across the region.
“However, the public also has an important role to play to prevent the spread of infection. We are sharing national messaging around how people can help protect themselves and others. This includes posters promoting the message ‘Catch It, Bin It Kill It’, which applies equally to the coronavirus as any of the respiratory illnesses we tend to see at this time of year.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway is also adopting the home testing model seen elsewhere in the country to limit any exposure and prevent any spread if cases were to appear.
This means people who are suspected coronavirus cases will be tested in their homes by clinicians who will wear a mask and protective clothing to prevent any possible spread.
Dr Bell said: “Obviously, there’s a lot of interest currently focused on coronavirus, and we’re monitoring the situation closely.
“We are well prepared in Dumfries and Galloway, but we do ask people to follow the self-isolation advice if they’ve visited an affected country, to call rather than visit their GP for advice if they think they have symptoms, and to also follow the basic health precautions they would use to avoid colds and flu, such as regularly washing hands, and catching coughs and sneezes with tissues.”
The latest numbers of test results are published at 2 pm each day on the Scottish Government website. https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-scottish-test-numbers/
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
• high temperature or fever
• shortness of breath
Updates on public health advice for coronavirus can be found on the NHS Inform website https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus, and a free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.
For anyone who is planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/ Where a COVID-19 risk is identified, country pages will be updated.