The number of Covid patients in Scotland’s hospitals has returned to the record high registered earlier this week.
A total of 2383 people were in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed coronavirus, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.
That’s two more than the previous day and the same as the record high on Monday.
As well as 22 patients in intensive care, a further 41 Covid-linked deaths and 6935 new cases of the killer virus were also reported.
Public Health Scotland (PHS) advised that due to the timing of when the new cases were processed on Friday morning, the reported figures for the last 24 hours “may be a little lower than expected” and will be included within the next 24-hour reporting period (Saturday), which PHS will provide on Monday.
Scotland has seen its first week-on-week drop in Covid-19 infections after eight successive increases, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), although it describes the latest trend as “uncertain”.
Some 451,200 people were estimated to have had the virus in Scotland last week, or about one in 12.
This is down from 473,800 people, or one in 11, the previous week.
The new deaths that have been reported in Scotland bring the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus to 11,469.
So far 4,355,289 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 4,093,341 have received their second dose, and 3,452,587 have received a third dose or booster.
On Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon noted the recent high case numbers, but said wastewater sampling had shown the situation may be stabilising.
She said: “Two weeks ago, there were on average just over 12,400 new cases being reported each day. One week ago, the average case number was still high, at around 12,000 a day.
“However, over the past week, it has fallen to 10,200 a day. That is a 15% fall over the last seven days, and it is fairly consistent across all age groups.
“That gives us grounds for optimism that this latest wave of infection may now have peaked. Of course, the daily numbers on their own need to be treated with a degree of caution.”