Sturgeon takes new steps to combat coronavirus in care homes

New measures will be taken to protect patients in care as it was revealed a quarter of deaths involving Covid-19 in Scotland have been in care homes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there will now be a shift to testing all residents showing symptoms of the disease.

It comes after figures released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed a quarter of all registered deaths involving Covid-19 in Scotland occurred in care homes.

The NRS said a total of 962 people have died with confirmed or suspected coronavirus as of April 12.

Its figures are announced weekly and account for all deaths registered in Scotland when Covid-19 was mentioned in the death certificate.

They differ from the laboratory-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government.

Announcing these figures, Ms Sturgeon said a total of 699 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by 84 from 615 on Tuesday.

Some 6,748 people have now tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 390 from 6,358 the day before.

There are 195 people in intensive care with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, a decrease of one on Tuesday, and 1,748 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

The First Minister said 433 care homes have recorded a case of Covid-19 since the beginning of the outbreak.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government is working with partners to ensure workers and residents are supported.

She added: “This shouldn’t need said but I want to say it – the residents of care homes matter every bit as much to us as people in the community or in hospital.”

Ms Sturgeon said the first residents in care homes who show symptoms of the virus are tested.

She said there would now be a shift to testing all care home residents showing symptoms.

The First Minister said interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith had advised her that “while this is not strictly necessary for, nor will it change the clinical management of cases in care homes, it’s nevertheless important for the confidence of relatives, staff and the wider public, given the vulnerability of care homes”.

She added: “The guidance to care homes is already very clear in terms of isolation and social distancing and that remains the most important factor in making sure that we are managing and preventing infection in care homes.”

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