MORE deaths were recorded in Dumfries and Galloway in January than any other month on record.
New data released this week by National Records of Scotland (NRS) reveals that 260 people died in the region in the first month of 2021.
The toll, exacerbated by the 53 Coronavirus-related deaths registered in January, is the area’s highest monthly rate in more than 30 years.
And with Covid-19 fatalities unaccounted for, deaths were still at the highest level since 2009.
Rising poverty rates and drug deaths, alongside added pressures on public services as a result of the pandemic, have also been linked with increasing mortality rates nationally.
In a statement, NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “It should be noted that every death recorded represents an individual, and that these people will be mourned by family and friends.
“Covid-19, and specifically the rapid increase in cases over new year driven by the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, has undoubtedly played a significant role in increasing the number of deaths within our region at the start of the year.
“The coronavirus has always posed a danger to Dumfries and Galloway, with the region no more immune to its potential effects than any other part of the United Kingdom.
“We would very strongly encourage anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of Covid-19 to immediately self-isolate along with the rest of their household and arrange to be tested. We would also ask everyone to please take up the opportunity of a vaccination against Covid-19 when it is their turn.
“Along with following the FACTS guidance, these actions can help curb transmission and drive down numbers of cases – helping to guard and protect against some the worst effects of a virus which can affect anyone.”