Coronavirus death toll in Scotland rises above 4200

It comes as a 'possible cluster' of Covid-19 cases is being investigated in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

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The death toll from coronavirus in Scotland has risen to more than 4200, according to the latest weekly figures.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon revealed 22 new confirmed cases of the virus in Scotland.

They include 14 cases in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area (NHSGGC), where a possible Covid-19 cluster is under investigation.

NHSGGC said in a statement it had identified a cluster of eight positive cases and that an investigation is underway.

The health board said: “Contact tracing of individuals has identified a number of businesses across Greater Glasgow and Clyde including a pharmacy in Inverclyde as being linked to the cases. 

“An NHSGGC-led Incident Management Team is working with Scottish Government, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and local environmental health teams to provide advice and support.   

“None of the cases are experiencing anything but mild symptoms.”

Eight deaths involving coronavirus were registered in Scotland from July 20 to July 26, a rise of two on the week before, according to new National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures.

The NRS statistics count both confirmed and presumed Covid deaths.

They include anyone who had coronavirus mentioned as a leading or contributory cause on their death certificate even if the diagnosis was never confirmed by a test.

The latest fatalities in the week ending July 26 take the coronavirus death toll in Scotland to 4201.

It comes even as separate daily Scottish Government figures show no deaths among confirmed Covid-19 patients for 13 days.

However, the 22 new infections detected in Scotland – accounting for 0.7% of those tested in the last 24 hours – bring the country’s total cases since the pandemic began to 18,580.

There are 260 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of four in 24 hours.

Of these patients, two were in intensive care, no change on Tuesday.

The First Minister said there had been no new admissions of patients with coronavirus to intensive care since July 9.

Last week’s NRS figures mark the first weekly rise in deaths involving coronavirus for three months, although it is still the second lowest figure since the statistics began being recorded.

Addressing the discrepancy between these figures and the daily figures, the First Minister said deaths are only counted as from confirmed Covid-19 if they die within 28 days of being diagnosed.

However, when people die after that period while they continue to receive care, with coronavirus cited as either a leading or contributory cause of death, they would be included in the NRS but not the Scottish Government figures, she explained.

Death certificates are also often not registered on the same date as the death takes place, with a gap of up to eight days possible.

With the First Minister due to announce the latest review of lockdown restrictions on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said she was “very likely to adopt a very cautious approach”.

Sturgeon stated: “We have made very significant changes over the past three weeks, including the resumption of indoor hospitality and tourism, and it is still too early to be completely assured about the impact – or hopefully the absence of impact – of these.”

She also said the Scottish Government planned to make “major changes” over the next three weeks.

Ministers hope children will be able to return to full-time schooling from August 11, while they also aim to pause the shielding system – which sees tougher restrictions posed on those with certain health conditions – from the end of this month.

Sturgeon said: “Ensuring that those changes can take place without raising the prevalence of the virus too far is not going to leave us very much room for many other immediate changes.”

The FM said she will look to provide “indicative dates” for the reopening of other sectors, with the likes of gyms, other leisure facilities, nightclubs, casinos and live events still closed for business.

She stressed this would be “conditional on continued suppression of the virus”.

Sturgeon accepted some could be “disappointed” if the changes they want to see made do not happen in Thursday’s review.

Pete Whitehouse, NRS director of statistical services, said: “Loss of life from this virus is tragic and every death represents loss and heartbreak for families throughout the country.

“Today’s figures show eight more deaths due to Covid-19, a figure similar to last week and one which is significantly lower than the peak week in mid- April when 661 Covid-19 related deaths were registered.”