More patients were infected with Covid-19 while in hospital during the second wave of coronavirus, official figures suggest.
Public Health Scotland found 1058 people definitely caught coronavirus while in hospital between the start of the pandemic and July 19.
A further 273 infections probably occurred on hospital wards during that time.
There was then a five-week period from July 20 to August 23 with no definite cases and just two probable infections in Scottish hospitals.
But since then, 1045 definite cases of hospital transmission and 556 probable cases have been recorded.
However, there were almost 70,000 more cases in the community during the second wave, according to the official data, and the highest number of weekly infections were recorded during the first wave.
During the first wave, the week ending April 12 saw 250 probable or definite infections occur in hospitals, compared to the second wave’s peak of 200 infections in the final week of October.
The figures, which cover the period up until December 13, record a definite case of hospital infection in cases where a patient tested positive for Covid-19 15 days or more after being admitted to hospital.
“Probable” cases are where a positive test result is recorded eight to 14 days after someone was admitted.
Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “This is a catastrophe happening on our NHS wards.
“Scottish Labour has called time and again for enhanced safety measures to be put in place to protect hospital staff and patients, including routine testing and enhanced PPE, so that both Covid and non-Covid illnesses can be treated.
“During the Christmas recess, I wrote to Jeane Freeman urging her to review PPE guidance in light of the new strain of the virus.
“Staff are fearful that basic masks and aprons are not providing enough protection. We have to assume Covid is in every part of the hospital and give staff and patients maximum protection now.
“If non-Covid healthcare cannot be safely delivered due to the virus ripping through our hospitals, more lives will be at risk and the backlog of cancelled operations and appointments will continue to soar.
“Jeane Freeman must commit to enhanced PPE and address urgent concerns about testing and vaccine rollout.”
Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservatives’ health spokesman, added: “This significant number of hospital-acquired cases is very worrying, especially as these figures appear to predate the emergence of the new strain.
“One way to deal with this is for the SNP Government to ensure vaccines are delivered to medical staff quickly and efficiently.
“It would also be wrong for the First Minister or her officials to downplay the reality of what is happening in our hospitals.”
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