The number of patients with Covid in Scotland’s hospitals has reached a record high for the third day in a row.
Figures released by the Scottish Government on Wednesday showed there were 2257 patients in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 36 on the previous day.
However the number of patients in intensive care fell by four to 25.
A further 39 coronavirus-linked deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, with the number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 rising to 11,202.
Meanwhile a further 12,421 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Scotland.
It comes as a major health board urged people not to attend A&E as patient numbers surged and “record numbers” of staff were absent due to Covid.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said staff were under “significant pressure” due to high patient numbers and urged the public to instead contact NHS24 for health advice unless their condition is urgent or life-threatening.
Dr Jennifer Armstrong from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “It’s been two years since the first national lockdown but unfortunately, the NHS is still very much in this pandemic and therefore, we’re [asking] the public to please only attend our accident emergency departments if your condition is life threatening or indeed very serious.
“I would also say that in our communities, Covid is still very high. In Glasgow and Clyde alone, we had 2400 cases yesterday and what we would ask is if you’re coming to our hospitals, please wear your masks, observe social distancing, so that we can prevent infection spreading to our staff and indeed our patients.
“We have a record number of staff absences through Covid and other staff are filling in and they have been magnificent. However it is very hard going in hospitals at the moment and that’s why we’re appealing to the public to only come to our hospitals if they absolutely need to.”
High patient numbers combined with staff absences due to Covid had created “the perfect storm” in hospitals, Dr Scott Davidson from NHSGGC added.
Dr Davidson said: “It’s two years since the first national lockdown and we’re still very much in the grip of Covid. Our hospitals are almost at capacity and our A&Es are extremely busy.
“This is as serious as it gets. Our teams are under significant pressure and we need the public to show support by only attending A&E if your condition is very urgent or life threatening.”