Yesterday’s figures from the Scottish Government also revealed how the virus has exploded in Dumfries and Galloway — rising by 634 in seven days.
Positive case numbers went from 1862 on January 1 to 2496 yesterday, while hospital admissions went up by ten overnight Wednesday to Thursday.
Wigtownshire and Annandale and Eskdale continue to be the worst affected communities, with Public Health Scotland flagging up Annan East, Annandale East, Eastriggs and Gretna as the top hotspots.
And overall Dumfries and Galloway is currently the second most affected part of Scotland, with a rate of 550 cases per 100,000 population.
Commenting, NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace had a stark warning for the public and said: “This is a worrying situation, as we know with the trajectory of cases, it means things are almost certain to get worse before they get better. The situation could grow considerably worse, given that these current figures do not account for the further rate of increase we may see resulting from increased social interaction on Christmas Day.
“What we have seen in recent weeks is a relaxing of some restrictions in the region with the move to Level 1 in the national covid protection framework,
and this then followed by the identification of the new, even more highly transmissible strain of the coronavirus within Dumfries and Galloway.”
He stressed the importance of following the national restrictions closely, adding: “What the current situation means is that we all have to go even further in not just following the national directions around face coverings and hand hygiene, but also in really limiting our interactions — as this is how covid spreads, and we know the new variant doesn’t allow any margin of error.
“As we see hospitals admitting increasing numbers of people with covid, the message nationally couldn’t be clearer as Dumfries and Galloway joins the rest of mainland Scotland in a lockdown – to help save lives, stay at home as much as possible.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that last week, up to January 3, a total of 5721 tests were carried out locally for coronavirus and the test positivity rate was 17 per cent, up from 5.9 per cent the previous week.
As well as the positive cases, a total of 1970 close contacts were advised to self-isolate.