Across Fife, confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to fluctuate. During the period of 17 September to 23 September, Fife witnessed the largest increase in positive tests in relation to neighboring areas including Dundee and Angus. The total number of cases rose from 166 to 233; according to the Courier, these statistics indicated an increase of approximately 37.9% compared to the week before.
Based on data from the UK government, positive results in Fife continued to heighten between 1 October and 7 October. Compared to the previous 7 days, there was an increase of 15%, with 261 confirmed cases reported.
The number of people who are being evaluated for COVID-19 is generally decreasing. During the period of 26 September and 2 October, an average of 9,039 tests were collected. This was a decrease of 25.1% compared to the week before, according to the UK government’s simple summary for COVID-19 in Fife.
This apparently diminishing concern about the dangers of COVID-19 resonates with some members of the student body. Third year Alex Gibb commented on his feelings about the virus.
“Since the pubs have opened back up, I have not been concerned [about COVID-19] in the slightest. The only thing about that worries me is if I were to pass it on to someone like my grandma,” Gibb said.
Others, such as first year Iris Hedley, appear to be more ambivalent.
“I feel like I had been so isolated for so long during COVID-19, so not having restrictions is very liberating. However, I am wary that it is still around and whenever I hear a cough it’s always in the back of my mind,” Hedley said.
Not only do some students seem to be less anxious about the virus - their sentiment is also supported by medical practices and their policies becoming more lax.
According to a recent update made by the National Health Association of Fife (NHS Fife), the practice of maintaining a physical distance of two meters will no longer be required in NHS facilities. Even more, it will not be necessary for visitors and staff to wear masks in non-clinical areas; in clinical areas, visitors will still be asked to wear a fluid resistant surgical mask.
Despite these policy changes, NHS Fife continues to stress that eligible groups should receive the latest COVID-19 booster as soon as possible, especially in preparation for a potentially difficult winter season.
According to a UK government report, 293,071 people in Fife had been provided with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11 September 2022. The same report stated that 279,833 people had received a second dose by this date, while 239,882 had been given a third dose or booster shot. This data indicates that approximately 78% of the population of Fife had received one or more doses of the vaccine by early September, according to the Fife Council Area’s latest population profile (2021).
Medical practices and pharmacies are now urging individuals to receive the next phase of the vaccine for this autumn and winter. The newest booster will be offered to a variety of vulnerable groups, including all adults over the age of 50 and those with weakened immune systems.
George Sandhu, a deputy superintendent pharmacist at Well Pharmacy in Dundee, commented on the seriousness of this issue to Fife Today.
"We know it is in these settings that COVID-19 and other viruses tend to thrive, therefore we must ensure we do all we can to stay on top of coronavirus. For many people, life has returned to normal, but we must not forget that COVID-19 is still out there and can impact people differently,” Sandhu said.
According to Dr Esther Curnock, NHS Fife’s immunisation co-ordinator, the latest booster is important because protection against the virus may fade over time.
A spokesperson for the university commented on St Andrews’ ongoing response to COVID-19: “The University continues to monitor COVID-19 levels and patterns closely, and we remain in lock step with Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland advice”.
Image: Imperial College London