Fife’s coronavirus rates have fallen this month after a tough start to the year, medical professionals have said.
Lockdown restrictions imposed on Boxing Day have resulted in fewer positive cases and deaths across the region.
However, health chiefs have warned against becoming relaxed and said it is imperative everyone continues to follow the rules to ensure a further reduction in positive tests.
Fife recorded three deaths in the seven days up to February 19, along with 253 identified cases.
This compares to 18 deaths and 590 positive tests in the seven days from January 9.
The news has brought with it a glimmer of hope that non-urgent hospital services could soon start to resume.
‘Things are improving’
NHS Fife medical director Dr Chris McKenna said things are improving.
“January was a pretty touch month for healthcare services,” he said.
“Things are improving as confirmed numbers start to fall.”
But he warned: “It hasn’t gone away yet and we need to be mindful of that.
“There are still admissions to hospital with Covid-19 and we really need the public to continue to follow all of the advice and regulations about keeping your distance etcetera.”
The message is still the same but it’s a positive message in general.”
Dr Chris McKenna.
Dr McKenna said the ongoing vaccination programme did not mean an immediate end to the pandemic.
“What we don’t want people to do is think, well there is a vaccine and numbers are falling so we can relax,” he said.
“The message is still the same but it’s a positive message in general and we’re starting to put plans together to remobilise and recover services once again.
“January has been very challenging and February has seen an improvement.
“We hope to see that improvement continue.”
‘We still see clusters’
Director of public health Dona Milne said the reduction in cases is very welcome.
“It’s what we would expect with being in lockdown,” she said.
“We still see clusters in lots of places and there have been a few care homes but I’m absolutely delighted to say numbers are reducing in care homes as well.”
The pace of Fife’s vaccination programme increased last week and by Friday more than 95,000 people had received their first jab.
Army medics will be helping with the programme for the next fortnight and everyone over the age of 65 should have been vaccinated by the end of this week.
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