There have now been more deaths involving coronavirus in care homes in Scotland than in hospitals or any other setting, new figures show.
A total of 1818 people have died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 care homes, compared to 1815 in hospitals and 278 at home or another setting.
And speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said 154 hospital deaths were of people previously in care homes.
However, new weekly figures from National Records of Scotland (NRS) show the number of deaths in care homes fell for a fifth week, by 56 to 68.
The number of weekly deaths linked to the virus has fallen to 131, down 99 from the week before – and also the fifth decline in deaths in a row.
Up to Sunday, May 31, there have been a total of 3911 deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was cited on the death certificate.
Deaths involving Covid-19 accounted for 12% of all deaths registered last week, a decline from 19% the week before and from the peak of 36% in mid-April, when more than 650 deaths were recorded.
Addressing MSPs on Wednesday, the First Minister gave an update on daily confirmed Covid-19 deaths and cases, which are tallied separately to the NRS figures.
She said 11 more people had died with the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total this week so far to 24.
It suggests the most up-to-date death toll, combining confirmed and presumed coronavirus deaths, is 3935.
Sturgeon also confirmed 33 new cases of Covid-19 in the last day, taking the total since the pandemic began to more than 15,500.
There are 1117 patients with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, down 51 on Tuesday, with 34 of those in intensive care (no change on yesterday).
She was challenged on the issue of mass testing of all care home staff, with Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw saying daily test numbers in the whole of Scotland fall well short of the number required just to frequently test all care home workers.
“The First Minister says that widespread testing of care home staff is now under way,” Carlaw said.
“I’m afraid it’s difficult to believe.”
He said there are 50,000 care home staff in Scotland, and there would have to be at least 7000 tests a day to test them all once a week.
However, only 4406 tests were carried out in Scotland on June 1, including in care homes and hospitals but also drive-through, mobile and home tests, while it was fewer than 3000 the day before that.
The First Minister replied: “The programme of care home worker testing is under way and will continue and then will be routine and regular.
“The health secretary will set out, if it’s helpful to the chamber, more details of the programme of that… and we will set out the data from that when that’s available.”
Sturgeon added that the NRS figures show deaths in care settings are declining in number “quite rapidly”.
Care home deaths were 52% of all Covid-19 deaths last week, a decrease from 54% the week before and down from the peak of 60% two weeks prior.
The total number of deaths registered in Scotland from May 25 to May 31 was 1125 – 11% higher than the average number of deaths registered in the same week over the last five year.
Since the peak of 878 excess deaths reported in the second week of April, the number of excess deaths has decreased on a weekly basis, to 108 in the week ending May 31.
There were fewer deaths last week from respiratory diseases, circulatory conditions, dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to the average for this time of year.
That means, for the second week in row, the number of deaths where Covid-19 was the underlying cause (111 in total) was greater than the total number of excess deaths for this time of year.
The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK has now passed 50,000, according to all the latest available data.
Pete Whitehouse, NRS director of statistical services, said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy.
“These statistics, alongside the other important evidence being made available by the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), are valuable to the understanding of the progress and impact of the Covid-19 virus across Scotland.”
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