NHS Forth Valley: COVID-19 figures are high in Falkirk but they are coming down

Falkirk has topped the Scottish table for COVID-19 cases yet again – but NHS Forth Valley has taken steps to combat this and now says the numbers are decreasing.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 12:30 pm

Public Health Scotland statistics, published over the weekend, showed there were 193 cases per 100,000 of population in Falkirk – well above the Scottish average of 77 cases.

Last month Falkirk was at the very top of the table with a weekly rate of 237.4 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 of the population. Second on the list was another NHS Forth Valley authority, Clackmannanshire, with a rate of 188.2.

The most recent figures show a rate of 171 cases per 100,000 for Falkirk and 160 for Forth Valley.

Picture Michael Gillen.

NHS Forth Valley said a number of factors were behind the high figures, including the fact more people are now being tested than ever before.

A spokesperson said: “Although the number of COVID-19 cases across Forth Valley, particularly in the Falkirk Council area, remain high we are now seeing some early signs of local rates starting to stabilise and reduce in some areas.

“The number of patients in our hospitals with COVID-19 is also starting to come down. The current high levels are due to a number of factors including a number of outbreaks in local workplaces and high levels of community transmission due to current strains of the virus spreading far more quickly and easily.

We are also carrying out significantly more COVID-19 testing, in some cases up to 50 per cent more, than other parts of Scotland.

"As a result, we are identifying more positive cases including many individuals who were not showing any of the common COVID-19 symptoms."

NHS Forth Valley also stated local testing continues to be targeted at local workplaces and community facilities where small numbers of positive cases have been identified, because proactive wide-spread testing can help identify further positive cases at an early stage and reduce further spread.

The health board said this approach has been “very effective” at managing local outbreaks, however, it does lead to more positive cases being reported.

New testing centres specifically for asymptomatic people – those without any symptoms of COVID-19 – are due to open in Forth Valley, including a new asymptomatic testing site in Polmont.

NHS Forth Valley director of public health Dr Graham Foster said: “It has been a challenging couple of months with high levels of COVID-19 across the Forth Valley area. Together with all our local partners we keep working hard to identify cases and reduce transmission.

"We are now seeing some early signs of local rates starting to stabilise or reduce and the number of patients in our hospitals with COVID-19 is also starting to come down.

"However, we are continuing to see high levels of transmission in our local communities and as the new strain of the virus is far more easily spread, it is vital that people remain vigilant and take extra care to protect themselves at this time.

"Please try to stay two metres apart, do not share cars with anyone from outside your household and follow FACTS at home and at work.”

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