Coronavirus deaths in care homes not inevitable, says Sturgeon

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.

“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.”

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

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.

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.

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.

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