Pentland Hills linked to huge rise in Midlothian Covid-19 cases

An oubreak of positive Covid-19 cases at a popular beauty spot has seen the numbers in Midlothian go from just two to 33 in the space of one week.

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Public Health Scotland reported 20 positive cases in the Pentland Hills area of the county in the week up to May 9, with three additional cases each in neighbouring communities of Straiton and Roslin and Bilston, and four new cases in Penicuik North.The rest of the county remained practically Covid free, but the sudden spike at Pentland and spread into neighbouring areas in a week has grown daily.It has pushed the number of cases per 100,000 people up to 35.7, substantially higher than the 25.5 national average but still well below the 100 cases per 100,000 in Moray, which has seen that county locked in Level 3 restrictions while the rest of the mainland prepares to move down to Level 2 on Monday.

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The park became a magnet for wild campers

Although much of the Pentland area is made up of the Pentland Hills rather than any densely populated community, it is home to a number of pioneering animal science campuses such as the Roslin Institute, Dick Vet Animal Hospital and Pentlands Science Park.Over the Easter holiday weekend last month, visitors to the Pentland Hills sparked huge queues of cars trying to get into its car parks as walkers headed to the countryside.The lifting of a ban on crossing county borders also brought more visitors out of Edinburgh and into the Midlothian hills.NHS Lothian has been asked for a comment on the rise.

Katie Dee, Interim Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian said, “Across all areas in Lothian we continue to closely monitor cases of COVID-19. Within some parts of Midlothian, there have been increased numbers of COVID-19 cases over the past seven days. This increase is not confined to particular settings or age groups, and it is likely that there is more than one factor responsible for the transmission.

“As part of the continued response to the virus, the availability of testing, in particular for asymptomatic people, has significantly increased. In the past, many of these people would not have been tested, and the disease would have continued to spread.

People flocked to the Pentlands in their thousands, blocking parking areas

“While restrictions may be easing, COVID-19 has not gone away. This is why it remains critically important that everyone should continue to be vigilant and aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and take all precautions, such as maintaining social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing a face covering where appropriate. All of these steps will help to reduce the risk of COVID-19.”

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