NHS Tayside has issued an urgent plea for young people to get their Covid-19 vaccinations as the region battles one of the worst infection rates in Europe.
Director of public health Dr Emma Fletcher shared what she described as “an exceptionally serious message” as it was revealed the health board has had to open a new Covid ward at Ninewells Hospital as cases soar and admissions reached their highest level since February 12.
Dr Fletcher confirmed their are now 58 patients in hospital with Covid in Tayside — 11 of whom are receiving critical care.
She also revealed Tayside’s infection rate per 100,000 population “is more than 10 times what it was just a few weeks ago”.
In a direct appeal aimed at the region’s 18 to 29-year-olds, Dr Fletcher said: “I expect everyone has heard that we have the highest rates of Covid infection in Scotland here in Tayside, and in particular in Dundee.
‘Young people right now with Covid in Ninewells’
“Some reports have even singled the city out as not only having one of the highest rates in the UK, but also in Europe.”
She continued: “Unfortunately, there are young people right now with Covid in Ninewells — not only in our general wards, but also in our intensive care unit and our high dependency unit.
“So today we have a simple plea: please go and get your vaccination.”
Dr David Connell, a consultant respiratory physician at Ninewells, had earlier warned that healthcare services at NHS Tayside are busier now than at any other time during the pandemic, and Dr Fletcher reiterated that Covid-19 “has not gone away”.
She said: “The number of people testing positive every day in Tayside remains in the hundreds.
“One of the biggest reasons I am this concerned is that having high numbers of cases in the community has a big knock-on effect on our hospitals, as it inevitably results in more people requiring hospital care.”
She added: “Covid-19 has not gone away and is still having serious impact in Tayside. So we need all of your support more than ever.
“Please get vaccinated, get tested regularly and, if you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get a PCR test.”