Community Covid testing in Moray will move to Lossiemouth next week as attempts continue to reduce the number of cases in the region.
The area was consistently the least affected part of the Scottish mainland through most of last year – allowing it to remain in Level 1 restrictions.
However, cases have remained consistently high during 2021 amid calls for residents to abide by the rules.
Coronavirus cases still high in Moray
The most recent data published by Public Health Scotland put Moray in 24th out of the 32 council areas with a seven-day average of 31.3 cases per 100,000 population for the week ending March 8.
The total puts it ahead of neighbouring Aberdeenshire, which recorded a rate of 27.2 cases for the same period.
For most of last year Moray typically recorded averages of between just six and eight cases per week per 100,000 people.
Officials hope that testing asymptomatic people will help to drive down the rate of community transmission.
Karen Sievewright, Moray Council’s environmental health manager, said: “Almost one in three people with Covid don’t have Covid-19 symptoms but are still infectious and able to pass the virus on to loved ones, friends and the wider community.
“By getting tested at a community testing site, you can find out if you are positive and take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus by self-isolating.
“Not only are we helping to protect our family, friends and community, if we can reduce the spread of Covid-19 and continue to follow the other national measures that are in place, we are that one step closer to getting back to doing the things we are unable to do just now.”
Advice on offer for those who test positive
The free testing in Lossiemouth, which will run until March 26, is only for people not showing Covid symptoms.
Anyone who thinks they may have coronavirus should still contact the NHS to book a test.
The venue is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, except on Wednesday when it is 1pm to 7pm.
Staff will be at the Town Hall to provide financial advice to people who test positive.
Norma Matheson, Moray Council’s benefits manager, said: “Some people are only a week’s wages away from financial difficulty and can’t afford not to work.
“We don’t want these things to be a barrier to people getting tested. We are here to help support you if you need to self-isolate.”