Almost half of coronavirus deaths across Grampian were in care homes – seven more than in hospital – new figures show.
Data released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) up to April 26 show almost half of deaths in the region (47%) were in care homes, with 60 people dying in these settings across the region since the pandemic began.
A total of 53 deaths (41%) in Grampian were in hospital and 13 deaths (10%) were in home or non-institutional settings.
This is above the national average, which showed more than a third (39%) of the 2,272 deaths recorded in Scotland up to April 26 related to care homes, new figures released by the National Records of Scotland show, with 886 dying in these institutions.
Speaking during her daily briefing on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figures were “deeply distressing” to hear.
Grampian has the second-highest proportion of deaths in care homes on the mainland of Scotland, behind Lothian, with 60 deaths (47%) occurring in care homes, out of a total of 129 recorded deaths.
Across Grampian, Highland, Shetland and Grampian, 81 deaths (39%) were in care homes, out of a total of 209 deaths recorded across the north and north-east.
There have been no deaths recorded in the Western Isles since the outbreak began and in Orkney there were two deaths related to coronavirus but these were in hospital.
The proportion of deaths in Scotland’s care homes has increased from 33% of overall coronavirus deaths in the week up to April 19, to 39% in the most recent NRS figures up to April 26.
Speaking at her briefing on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon said the proportion of deaths in care homes is “quite obviously distressing”.
She added: “It is however broadly in line with the proportion being reported now in many other countries and that demonstrates again how crucial it is to make care homes as safe as they possibly can be during a pandemic of this nature.
“Care homes have had strict guidance to follow since March 13 and it is incumbent on care home providers, whether they are in private sector, to follow and to implement that guidance.
“Our NHS directors of public health are also playing a lead role in assessing how each care home in an area is managing infection control, staffing, training, physical distancing and testing.”
The proportion of deaths in care homes is quite obviously deeply distressing.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Ms Sturgeon added that care homes are “very vulnerable” to the virus due to the age and frailty of their residents and because many people are living together in the same setting, and this reflects the situation in the rest of the UK and other countries across the world.
The NRS figures include all cases where Covid-19 is mentioned in a person’s death certificate and are distinct from the daily figures produced by Health Protection Scotland (HPS), which have so far included only individuals who have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.
This method recorded 2,272 deaths in Scotland linked to Covid-19 as of April 19, compared to the 1,262 fatalities recorded by the HPS system at the time.