Police ran evening woodland patrols in Elgin at the weekend to break up groups of youths breaching Covid rules.
Concerns continue about high numbers of coronavirus cases in Moray amid reports locals breaching requirements to self-isolate.
Across the weekend the first patients began receiving their vaccine injections as part of NHS Grampian’s accelerated rollout to all over 18s.
Opening hours at the Fiona Elcock vaccination centre in Elgin have been expanded to facilitate the project with jabs now being done as late as 10pm.
Police patrols to break up woodland gatherings
On Sunday, Scottish Government figures showed nine new Covid cases were reported in Moray.
The figure means the region is currently recording cases at a rate of 92.8 per 100,000 people over a seven-day period – still more than four times higher than the Scottish average of 22.3.
Cases reported at the weekend have generally been lower at weekend throughout the pandemic.
During the last week concerns were reported by residents in the Oakwood and Mayne farm areas of Elgin about large gatherings of teenagers taking place in woods, which involved alcohol, drugs and fire.
And at the weekend, police in Elgin stepped up efforts to monitor the issue with patrols while continuing to urge locals to abide by the Covid rules.
A social media post read: “Officers in Moray, and in particular Elgin, continue to patrol and make efforts to tackle antisocial behaviour and large numbers of youths breaching Covid regulations.
Officers in Moray and in particular Elgin will this evening continue to patrol and make efforts to tackle antisocial behaviour and large numbers of youths breaching COVID regulations. Please stick to the rules to keep you, your family and your friends safe. 🤟👮♂️☔#NotGivingIn pic.twitter.com/jvWazAe0ns
— Moray Police (@MorayPolice) May 8, 2021
“Please stick to the rules to keep you, your family and your friends safe.”
Meanwhile, residents continue to be urged to use increased testing facilities in the region with cases now rising outside Elgin in Lossiemouth, Buckie and Keith.
At the weekend cars could be seen queuing up to get into the new mobile unit at Elgin Academy, which is reserved solely for students at staff during the week, while another facility runs on weekdays on Elgin High Street.
The NHS has expanded the range of symptoms when people should seek tests to include headaches, sore throats and diarrhoea in an effort to get control of the virus.
Communities urged to use Covid testing
Health officials have described the outbreak as “concerning, uncontrolled and sustained”.
Residents throughout Moray have been urged to use testing facilities or order kits to take them at home.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The rise in cases at the moment is giving real cause for concern, both for the authorities and local communities.
“I’m encouraged the NHS is pouring resources into the area in terms of expanding asymptomatic and PCR testing, and I encourage people to take advantage of them, and also in the accelerated vaccination rollout.
“I’m encouraged the authorities are taking it seriously but, as a community, we must not let our guard down and we must stick to the advice and take advantage of the testing.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said: “The situation in Moray continues to give cause for concern.
“We have to encourage people to get tested. I know how tough restrictions have been but we can’t undo all the good work done before now.
“Leaving Moray behind the rest of Scotland as restrictions ease would be a real blow.
“It shows the pandemic isn’t yet behind us and we need the new Scottish Parliament to be 100% focused on tackling the ongoing crisis.”
How and when to organise a Covid test
Those with any of the symptoms listed below should book a test, via nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 if you cannot get online, and must not attend sites asymptomatic testing sites.
Those with both classic and extended symptoms in Moray should immediately book a test via nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 if you cannot get online.
Extended symptoms include:
- General weakness
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Runny nose
- Dry or productive cough
The individual and their whole household, including any extended or bubble members, should self-isolate immediately self-isolate until the test results are returned.
A timetable of when asymptomatic testing is available at locations across Moray can be found here.