Coronavirus deaths in Scottish care homes outstrip hospital Covid-19 fatalities

There have now been more deaths related to Covid-19 in care homes than hospitals in Scotland, according to latest figures.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) statistics show there have been 1,818 deaths in care homes when Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, higher than the 1,815 fatalities in hospitals.

A total of 3,911 people had died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in Scotland as of May 31.

There were 131 deaths related to Covid-19 registered between May 25 and 31, a decrease of 99 from the previous seven days and the fifth consecutive weekly drop.

The majority of coronavirus-linked deaths across Scotland in the week to May 31 were in care homes at 52%, down from 54% the previous week.

The number of deaths in care homes fell for a fifth week in a row, down by 56 from the previous week to 68.

The NRS figures are published weekly and account for all fatalities registered in Scotland when Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government using Health Protection Scotland (HPS) figures because they include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.

The total number of deaths registered in Scotland from May 25 to 31 was 1,125, 11% higher than the average number of deaths registered in the same week over the last five years at 1,017.

There were fewer deaths from respiratory diseases and circulatory conditions compared to the average for this time of year.

As a result, the number of deaths when Covid-19 was the underlying cause – 111 – was greater than the total number of excess deaths.

The NRS figures also show 42% of registered deaths involving Covid-19 between May 25 and 31 were in hospitals, up from 41% the previous week, while 6% were at home or in non-institutional settings, up from 4% the week before.

More than three-quarters (76%) of registered deaths involving Covid-19 to date have been people aged 75 or over.

Pete Whitehouse, director of statistical services, said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy.

“Across Scotland, the number of Covid-19 related deaths registered in the week ending May 31 was 131 – the lowest weekly total since late March.”

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) gave the daily Health Protection Scotland figures, which record only confirmed coronavirus cases.

Under that measure, a total of 2,386 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up 11 from 2,375 on Tuesday.

Ms Sturgeon said 15,504 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up 33 from 15,471 the previous day.

There are 1,117 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of 51, and 34 people were in intensive care, no change on Tuesday.

The First Minister told MSPs while the figures are “far higher” than she would wish, they provide “further grounds for optimism”.

She said: “The weekly number of Covid-19 deaths has now fallen for five weeks in a row, they are now at one-fifth of their peak level.

“Excess deaths are less than one-eighth of their peak level, deaths in care homes are also now falling week on week.

“The figures in my view reinforce the decision we took last week to ease some lockdown restrictions but to do so very slowly and carefully.

“The progress we have made is obvious but it is still fragile and it could very easily be reversed.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Fraser Bremner / Scottish Daily Mail / PA Wire.