Extra covid wards are being prepared at hospitals in Fife after a spike in new cases in the region.
Locals have been urged to help fight coronavirus to slow the spread after 189 new cases were reported on Tuesday.
The health board’s top doctor has warned they expect more Covid-positive patients to need hospital treatment in the coming weeks.
The seven-day positivity rate in Fife was 479.2 as of July 3, up from 285.9 on June 26.
NHS Fife medical director Dr Chris McKenna said 12 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus.
Hospital admissions expected to increase
“We expect this number to increase over the next few weeks,” Dr McKenna said.
“As part of our plans, we are operating our surge wards at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy to provide additional capacity at this time as well as additional capacity at Queen Margaret Hospital (Dunfermline).
“Our GPs are also very busy, seeing an increase in those who are feeling very unwell with the virus and a proportion of these do require hospital admission.
“What is different at this time is that there are more emergency surgical and medical patient admissions than during the previous waves.
“All of our health and care services are under increasing strain from this demand. We also have a number of staff self-isolating, which is adding to the challenge.
“All steps are being taken to manage patients as safely as possible within Fife’s health care services; however, we also need the public to play their part.”
Patients have also been asked to call NHS 24, on 111, instead of attending A&E, if they have a non life-threatening condition, as demand increases on health services.
‘Health and care services under increasing strain’
Dr McKenna added: “To ensure you have the fastest access to the treatment you need, anyone with a non-life-threatening condition who would usually go to A&E should call NHS 24 on 111 first, day or night, to be directed to the right NHS service.
“With the easing of lockdown restrictions, we would also ask that the public continue to follow the FACTS: Face coverings in enclosed spaces, Avoid crowded places, Clean your hands and surfaces regularly, Two-metre social distancing, Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms.
“It is also vital that all those aged 18 or over get both vaccines and should look to take two lateral flow tests a week or a PCR test from one of our testing centres if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 – new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.”