VIRUS: FIFTY MORE DEATHS AND 53 IN INTENSIVE CARE

Sturgeon at FMQs 2
Nicola Sturgeon. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Democrat reporter

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament today that in the past 24 hours, 50 deaths have been registered of patients who had been confirmed as having the Covid-19 virus. That takes the total number of deaths to 2,184. Although the National Records Office puts that at 3,546. 

She said: “As of 9 o’clock this morning, 14,751 positive cases have been confirmed, which is an increase of 96 since yesterday. A total of 1,443 patients who are suspected of or confirmed as having Covid-19 are in hospital, which is a decrease of four since yesterday. As of last night, 53 people were in intensive care with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, which is a decrease of six since yesterday.”

National Records of Scotland has just published its more detailed weekly report. Unlike the daily figures, its figures do not just include those deaths with a confirmed laboratory diagnosis of Covid-19; it also reports on cases where no formal test was carried out but where the virus is entered on the death certificate as a suspected cause of death or a contributory factor of the death.

The latest NRS report covers the period up to Sunday 17 May, which is three days ago. I remind members that, at that point, according to our daily figures, 2,105 deaths had been registered of people who had tested positive for the virus, but today’s report shows that by Sunday the total number of registered deaths linked to Covid-19, confirmed and presumed, was 3,546. Of those deaths, 332 were registered in the seven days up to Sunday; that is a decrease of 83 from the week before. Indeed, this is the third week in a row in which deaths have fallen.

Deaths in care homes made up 55 per cent of all deaths linked to the virus last week. That is down from 57 per cent in the previous week. The number of Covid-19 deaths in care homes also reduced again. However, as all of us will agree, that figure remains too high.

There have been 50 more deaths in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

The total number of excess deaths—that is, the number of deaths above the five-year average for the same time of year—also decreased, from 401 and 351.

Ms Sturgeon added: “Today, we have published additional information from Public Health Scotland, which includes preliminary analysis—I stress that it is preliminary—of Covid-19 cases among minority ethnic communities. Although the data is very limited, and additional analysis is being undertaken, particularly due to findings in England and Wales, the current analysis in Scotland appears to show that there is not a higher level of Covid-19 cases than would be expected, given the size of our black, Asian and minority ethnic population.

“I know that none of those statistical patterns will ever console those who have lost a loved one to the virus, and my thoughts and sympathies are with each and every one of them. However, the trends that we are seeing matter, and they provide further grounds for encouragement. In particular, the number of Covid-19 deaths has fallen for a third week, and the level of deaths is now almost half what it was three weeks ago. Deaths in care homes and excess deaths have also fallen.

“Tomorrow [Thursday], I will make a statement and publish a route map of the steps that we will take, and the order in which we might take them, to carefully and cautiously return to some form of normality. Of course, for the moment, the message in Scotland remains the same. Please stay at home, except for essential purposes such as exercising, going to essential work that cannot be done at home, or accessing food or medicine. People can now exercise more than once a day, but when you leave the house, you should stay more than two metres from other people and you should not meet up with those from other households. Please wear a face covering if you are in a shop or on public transport, and remember to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. If you or someone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms, you should stay at home and isolate completely.”

The FM maintained: “Today’s figures show that our approach is making a difference. It is slowing down the spread of the virus, protecting the national health service and saving lives. As I will outline further tomorrow, it is also helping to bring forward the time when we can start to ease the current restrictions. As always, my thanks go to everyone who is complying with the restrictions and helping us to make progress.”


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