A further 28 people have died in Scotland after being diagnosed with coronavirus, the First Minister has confirmed.
Total confirmed cases of the virus has risen to 60,403 – a jump of 1202 in the past 24 hours and 6.8% of all tests carried out on Tuesday.
The official death toll in Scotland now stands at 2754, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is more than 4400.
Of the new cases reported on Wednesday, 451 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 292 are in Lanarkshire, 152 are in Lothian, and 91 are in Ayrshire and Arran.
The remaining cases are spread across nine other health board areas. NHS Western Isles was the only health board not to record a new case.
According to management information reported by NHS boards across Scotland, 1117 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 – an increase of 17 overnight. Out of those, 85 patients are in intensive care.
Earlier on Wednesday it was revealed that 78 hospital patients in Scotland who had tested positive for Covid-19 were discharged into care homes from March 1 to April 21.
Public Health Scotland’s study found that between those dates there were 3599 discharges from hospital to a care home, the majority (81.9%) of which were not tested for Covid-19.
Of the 650 who were tested, 78 had received a positive result while in hospital.
Between April 22 and May 31, there were 1605 discharges from hospital to a care home.
The majority (1493 – 93%) were tested for Covid-19, in line with changes in clinical guidance. Of these, 1215 tested negative and 278 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 233 had a negative test result prior to discharge.
At the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said the report concluded that allowing for other factors, such as the size of a care home, “hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak”.
Quoting directly from the report, she stated: “The analysis does not find statistical evidence that hospital discharges of any kind were associated with care home outbreaks.”
She said Public Health Scotland would now be carrying out further work to give a more detailed understanding of Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes.
Speaking about Scotland’s new five-tier system for restrictions, Sturgeon said formal confirmation of which levels would be applied to different local authority areas would be revealed on Thursday.
She said: “Work to finalise these decisions will take place over the course of today and this evening.
“The position we are in right now is really tough, and everyone is thoroughly sick of it.
“That has been the case for some time, but as the nights get darker, as we head into winter, and as our attention and thoughts turn to Christmas, I think that feeling becomes a heavier one for all of us.”