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Coronavirus deaths in care homes not inevitable, says Sturgeon

The First Minister pledged support for older people as she spoke at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing.

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A new report found one third of suspected coronavirus deaths were recorded in care homes (Joe Giddens/PA)

A new report found one third of suspected coronavirus deaths were recorded in care homes (Joe Giddens/PA)

A new report found one third of suspected coronavirus deaths were recorded in care homes (Joe Giddens/PA)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said deaths in care homes are not inevitable as new figures show they account for a third of all Covid-19 fatalities in Scotland, a rise on the previous week’s numbers.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said older people in care settings should receive “the same, if not more” support as other people during the pandemic.

Her comments come as the National Records of Scotland (NRS) released its weekly report on Covid-19 deaths, showing 1,616 people died where the virus was mentioned on their death certificate.

The report also found 33% of the deaths recorded between April 13-19 were in care settings, accounting for 537.

The same figure for the previous week was 237, or 25% of coronavirus deaths.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s not unusual for people to become sick in care homes, residents are often frail and nearing the end of their lives.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

“But that does not mean that we consider any of these cases to be inevitable or that we don’t do everything we possibly can to prevent them.

“Older people in care homes require as much, if not more, support and protection as anyone else in our society and we’re working with care homes and other partners to provide that.”

The First Minister said 35% of Scotland’s care homes have a current outbreak of the virus – meaning at least one resident has the virus – the equivalent of 384.

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Nicola Sturgeon said she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ as hospital numbers fall (Jane Barlow/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon said she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ as hospital numbers fall (Jane Barlow/PA)

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Nicola Sturgeon said she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ as hospital numbers fall (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Government statistics show 308 care homes have had more than one case of Covid-19 among residents and there were 2,085 cases reported in care homes as of Tuesday, an increase of 212 on the previous day.

Ms Sturgeon told the briefing the number of deaths recorded by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) – which reports on cases of Covid-19 confirmed by hospital testing – was 1,062 an increase of 77 from the previous day.

HPS also found 9,038 people have tested positive for the virus, an increase of 366 on Tuesday’s figures.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Despite the increase in cases and deaths recorded by HPS, the First Minister remained “cautiously optimistic” given reductions in the number of people being treated in hospital and in intensive care.

She said listening to reports of the figures was “really horrible”, adding: “I know it is hard to see progress when the numbers of deaths we are reporting are so grim but the other statistics I am reporting on daily, particularly on hospital and intensive care admissions, do show that we are making progress.”

Noting the number of deaths recorded in Scotland is higher than usual for the same time of year, the First Minister said the Scottish Government will “do further work” to find out why this is the case.

PA