NHS Grampian has praised a “truly impressive” effort from Moray residents to control a spike in Covid cases.
The region has been held at Level 3 restrictions this week amid a surge in positive test results during the last month.
Only one Covid case has been reported in Moray today while none were recorded in the two preceding days.
Optimism in Moray after Covid case reduction
Work from locals has led to the seven-day positive case rate dropping from 106.45 per 100,000 people on May 10 to just 39.66 today
NHS Grampian says there is now grounds for “cautious optimism” that the Covid outbreak in Moray is under control after the effort from residents.
However, officials have stressed the “job is not done yet”.
Chris Littlejohn, NHS Grampian’s deputy director of public health, said: “We have seen a really impressive response from people, right across Moray, to the increased availability of testing and the early extension of vaccination to all those aged 18 and over.
“This reflects not only the willingness of people to come forward for vaccination, but also the very hard work of the local team.
“Praise must go to both groups for their efforts. In addition, the number of people seeking testing, either at community sites offering asymptomatic testing using lateral flow devices, or at the mobile testing units based in Elgin, Keith, and Aberlour is truly impressive.”
‘The job is not done yet’
An update given to the local incident management team (IMT) today showed about 50% of 18 to 29-year-olds in Moray have now received their first Covid jag.
Meanwhile about 60% of all 30 to 49-year-olds have also had their initial dose.
All over 18s in Moray are expected to have been offered their first vaccine before the end of the month.
Drop-in appointments have been offered at the Fiona Elcock Vaccination Centre in Elgin to speed up the process.
Talks will be held again before the end of the week ahead of a Scottish Government announcement on Friday about whether the region can move to Level 2 restrictions.
Mr Littlejohn added: “I believe there is now cause for some cautious optimism in Moray – though I must stress the job is not done yet.
“We are still seeing cases numbers sitting around the 50 per 100,000 of the population mark – much higher than neighbouring Aberdeenshire and Highland.
“We are still seeing hospitalisation as a result of Covid-19. The IMT continues to monitor the situation very closely and will meet again later this week to consider its recommendations to the Scottish Government.
“Our message to people in Moray remains unchanged. Please keep coming forward for testing – around half the cases we are detecting are in people without symptoms.”
Will Moray move to Level 2?
The threshold the Scottish Government has set for moving to Level 2 restrictions is 50 cases per 100,000 over a seven-day period.
The most recent statistics show the region is currently below that mark.
Health officials are stressing caution while the numbers are still significantly higher than neighbouring regions.
Well done and a huge thank you to everyone in Moray who has taken part in the testing and vaccination programmes.
— Moray Council (@MorayCouncil) May 18, 2021
However, Moray is currently recording a lower rate of infections than East Renfrewshire, Midlothian, East Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire and South Lanarkshire, which are all already in Level 2.
Glasgow, which was held at Level 3 with Moray, is currently recording cases at a rate of 107.4 per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “Things have looked more positive over the last few days, with case numbers moving in a downward direction.
“But we must not be complacent. Getting tested if you have symptoms remains essential, and for those without symptoms I’d encourage you to take up the offer of free lateral flow testing that you can do at home.”