By Democrat reporter

The total number of deaths in Scotland rose to 2,386 yesterday, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

She told the Holyrood parliament: “I am afraid that, in the past 24 hours, 11 deaths of patients who had been confirmed as having the virus have been registered.”

The FM began her daily  briefing with an update on the key statistics in relation to Covid-19.

She said that as of 9 o’clock this morning, an additional 33 cases have been confirmed since yesterday – “A total of 1,117 patients who are either suspected or confirmed as having Covid-19 are in hospital, which is an decrease of 51 since yesterday. The number of confirmed cases within that decreased by six.

“As of last night, 34 people were in intensive care with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, which is no change on the figure that was reported yesterday.

“I am afraid that, in the past 24 hours, 11 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 2,386.”

Ms Sturgeon said the National Records of Scotland has just published its more detailed weekly report. Unlike the daily statistics, its figures do not just include deaths where Covid has been confirmed by a laboratory test; it also reports on cases where the virus was entered on the death certificate as a suspected or contributory cause of death.

The latest NRS report covers the period to Sunday 31 May, which was three days ago.

She added: “I remind members that, at that point, according to our daily figures, 2,363 deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus had been registered.

“However, today’s report shows that, by Sunday 31 May, the total number of registered deaths with either a confirmed or presumed link to the virus was 3,911.

“Of those deaths, 131 were registered in the seven days up to Sunday. That is a decrease of 99 from the week before. The total number of excess deaths, which is the number above the five-year average for the same time of year, also decreased from 181 to 108.

“Deaths in care homes made up 52 per cent of all deaths linked to the virus last week. That figure is down from 54 per cent in the previous week. The number of Covid-19 deaths in care homes also reduced again, from 124 last week to 68 in the most recent week.

“National Records of Scotland has published an additional analysis today, covering the period up to 17 May. It shows that, up to that point, 154 of the Covid deaths that were reported in hospital were of people who had previously been resident in care homes.

“All those figures are, of course, far higher than any of us would wish. I am also aware that no statistical trend will console those who have lost loved ones to the virus. My thoughts and sympathies are with all of them.

“However, those numbers provide further grounds for optimism. The weekly number of Covid-19 deaths has now fallen for five weeks in a row, and they are now at one fifth of their peak level; excess deaths are at less than one eighth of their peak level; and deaths in care homes are also now falling week on week.”

The FM said: “In my view, the figures reinforce the decision that we took last week to ease some lockdown restrictions but to do so very slowly and carefully.

“The progress that we have made is obvious, but it is still fragile and it could very easily be reversed. That is why it is still so important that all of us stick to the current guidance. People should still be staying at home most of the time and should still be meeting fewer people than normal. Life should not feel entirely normal at present.

“When we meet people from another household, we should stay outdoors and 2m apart from them. We must not meet more than one other household at a time nor more than one a day, and we must keep to a maximum of eight people in a group

“We should all wash our hands often and wear a face covering in shops or on public transport. If we have symptoms of Covid-19, we should get tested and follow the advice on self-isolation.

Above all else, we should all remember that the decisions that we take as individuals now affect the well-being of all of us. I again thank everybody across Scotland who has been doing the right thing and assure everybody that it is making a positive difference.”

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