By Democrat reporter
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon brought MSPs up to date on the latest grim statistics from the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “As of 9 o’clock this morning, 15,240 positive cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, which is an increase of 55 since yesterday.
“A total of 1,247 patients who are either suspected or confirmed as having Covid-19 are in hospital, which is an increase of 47 since yesterday.
“However, the number of confirmed cases has decreased by 23. As of last night, 38 people were in intensive care with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, which is an increase of three since yesterday. I point out that yesterday’s figure of 36 has been revised to 35.”
She added: “I am afraid that, in the past 24 hours, 13 deaths of patients who had been confirmed as having the virus have been registered. That takes the total number of deaths in Scotland under that measurement to 2,304.”
National Records of Scotland has just published its more detailed weekly report. Unlike the daily figures, its figures do not just include the figures for deaths with a confirmed laboratory diagnosis; it also reports on cases in which no formal test was carried out but where the virus was entered on the death certificate as a suspected or contributory cause of death.
The FM said the latest NRS report covers the period to Sunday 24 May, which is three days ago. At that point, according to our daily figures, 2,273 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus had been registered.
However, today’s report shows that, by Sunday 24 May, the total number of registered deaths with either a confirmed or presumed link to Covid-19 was 3,779. Of those deaths, 230 were registered in the seven days up to Sunday.
“That is a decrease of 105 from the week before. This is the fourth week in a row in which deaths have fallen,” Ms Sturgeon said.
She added:”Deaths in care homes made up 54 per cent of all deaths linked to the virus last week. That is down from 56 per cent in the previous week. The number of Covid-19 deaths in care homes also reduced again, from 186 last week to 124 in the most recent week. That figure, of course, remains too high.”
The total number of excess deaths—the number of deaths above the five-year average for the same time of year—also decreased from 357 to 178.
Ms Sturgeon offered her sympathy to those close to those who have died: “I have said before, and it remains true, that statistical trends will never console those who have lost loved ones to the virus. My thoughts and sympathies are with them all.
“However, the trends, which have now been sustained for more than four weeks, give grounds for encouragement. The weekly number of Covid-19 deaths has fallen by more than 60 per cent from its peak and excess deaths have reduced by more than three quarters. Deaths in care homes are also falling.”
She added: “Tomorrow, we will take a formal decision on whether to begin to emerge cautiously from lockdown. Any early steps are likely to focus on outdoor activities. We will provide full information about what individuals and businesses should and should not do.
“I stress that, even if some restrictions are relaxed later this week, it will continue to be essential to follow guidance. People should stay 2m apart from those from other households and should self-isolate if they have symptoms.
“The message in Scotland remains the same. Please stay at home except for essential purposes. When you leave the house, stay more than 2m from other people and do 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 must stay at home and isolate completely.
“What we have all done so far has made a difference, and today’s figures show that. Everyone has played a part in slowing the spread of the virus, protecting the national health service and saving lives.
“I will end by once again thanking everybody across Scotland for doing that, and by stressing that, as we start to emerge from lockdown, that co-operation will become more important than ever.”