The latest seven-day figure for the Borders is down to 435, but the number of patients with Covid in our hospitals has risen to 60, which has had an effect on the medical personnel also being infected.
The chief executive of the local health board has implored people to help minimise pressure on an “already over-stretched system” as the region’s health care teams are decimated by Covid-related absences.
In an update issued on Friday, Ralph Roberts said the health board was facing a "critical” staffing situation.
“Large numbers of our staff are off sick as a result of Covid-19 and other winter related illnesses,” he said.
"Although this is to be expected over the winter months, Covid related absence can decimate teams very quickly due to the requirement for self isolation.
“This is having a very significant impact on our ability to deliver services, and the quality of care that we wish for our patients.
“Unlike other businesses we cannot shut our doors, so in order to support our hardworking and dedicated staff through this incredibly challenging time we are asking the public to please play your part in helping us minimise the pressure on the already over-stretched system.”
Those with loved ones in hospital are being asked to provide support for things like eating and dressing if they require help.
"This would be considered as an ‘essential visit’ and the nursing staff on the ward will be happy to talk to you to enable this support to take place,” Mr Roberts said.
“If your family member is fit to be discharged, please help us by being ready and available to collect them or support their discharge to their next place of care.”
Those who have had care or treatment delayed as a result of current pressures are asked to be patient, and not contact GPs or consultants to ask for further information.
Calls to 999 or visits to the Emergency Department should only be made for immediately life-threatening conditions, e.g. suspected heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or severe injury.
If you have a minor injury or urgent, not life-threatening health problem, call NHS 24 on 111 to be referred to the right care in the right place.
Mr Roberts said the health board was doing everything it could to maintain essential services.
“This is an incredibly difficult message to have to give,” he added. “I am sorry for the inconvenience and distress being caused, and I thank you for your patience, understanding and help.”