“This past year will have been one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, we have all faced.
“As we mark one year since the first coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were discovered in Scotland, there still remains some challenges. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are beginning to see some hopeful signs, including a reducing number of positive cases in our community.
“The support we have received from the community has been outstanding: kind donations to our staff; clapping on your doorstep; sticking to the guidelines set by Scottish Government; and more recently rolling up your sleeve for your vaccination. I want to thank you for every act of kindness and support.
“I want to thank all of our health and care staff for their exceptional efforts throughout the last year and in particular over the last few months.
“The teams across our health and care system have worked tirelessly in service of those who need our care and support. I hear every week how our staff are adapting how they work so they can meet the issues and challenges of our continued response to COVID-19. I have heard numerous examples of resilience, dedication, and endurance, while our staff continue to work to our organisational values of Caring, Safe and Respectful.
“As well as continuing to provide care to our citizens, we have also been delivering the Test and Protect service, and most recently a mass vaccination programme. I want to recognise the incredible effort and commitment that has gone in to establishing and delivering these programmes.
“Since the first vaccines were administered on 8 December 2020 to care home residents and priority health and care staff, we have vaccinated 138,465* people in Ayrshire and Arran.
“The vaccination programme is running extremely well, and I want to thank those working in our vaccination teams in helping us deliver this important programme. I also want to thank the many people who have taken up the offer to be vaccinated.
“Remember, however, that it is still incredibly important to continue to follow the FACTS guidance, even after vaccination. This is the only way we can continue to protect our families, friends and communities from the devastating impact of COVID-19.
“We are at a crucial time locally for controlling the spread of COVID-19. The guidance currently says to stay at home. You should now only leave the house for essential reasons like: getting food or medicines, any medical need, exercise, to support a vulnerable person, or for work where you can’t work from home.
“But the recent decline in case number and the progress of the vaccine programme is cause for optimism, and brings hope that life will return closer to normality as this year continues.
“I’m incredibly proud of the huge efforts I have seen across the health and care system over the last 12 months and want to thank all health and care staff for their hard work, compassionate care, and unwavering commitment.”
- F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport (buses, trains and taxis)
- A – Avoid crowded places.
- C – Clean your hands frequently, using water & soap whenever possible.
- T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.
- S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.