The total number of deaths related to coronavirus has dropped for the third week in a row, new figures show.
The National Records of Scotland has provided figures up to May 17 which show 3,546 deaths registered in Scotland mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate since the pandemic began.
Of the total number of deaths registered between May 11 and May 17, there were 332 deaths as a result of Covid-19, a decrease of 83 from the previous week and the third weekly reduction in a row.
Care home deaths also fell for a third week, by 54 to 184, but the most deaths still occur in these settings, accounting for 55% of deaths in the week up to May 17.
This has fallen from 57% in the week up to May 10 and 60% in the week up to May 3.
In terms of the total Covid-19 deaths registered to deaths in care homes to date since the pandemic began, 46% (1,623) were in care homes, 47% (1,664) in hospitals and 7% (255) were at home or in non-institutional settings.
Our own analysis of the NRS data shows that since the first care home death from Covid-19 there have been 4,230 total deaths in care homes.
The five-year average for that period is 1,989 with Covid-19 attributed to 1,623, meaning an excess of 366 care home deaths that were not accounted for by the pandemic.
Across the NHS Grampian health board area, almost half of all Covid-19 deaths were in care homes since the pandemic began.
There have been 213 deaths across the region and of these 49% (104) were in care homes – with 11 care home deaths registered in the seven days up to May 17.
Across the north and north-east as a whole, 44% of deaths were in care homes, with 33 care home deaths in Highland, up two from last week’s figures and there have been five care home deaths in Shetland to date.
There have been no deaths in the Western Isles and no care home deaths in Orkney.
Across Tayside a total of 44% of Covid-19 deaths were in care homes, with 115 out of 257 people dying in these settings.
Meanwhile, across Fife, 66 people have died in care homes, from an overall figure of 177 since the pandemic began – accounting for 37% of Covid-19 deaths.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said there had been 14,751 positive cases across Scotland – an increase of 96 from Tuesday.
She added that 1,443 patients were in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of four, and 53 were in intensive care, down by six.
Commenting on the NRS stats, which showed there had been 3,546 deaths up to May 17, Ms Sturgeon said there had been 2,105 deaths recorded in Scotland as of that same date under government’s recording system.
This number is different from the count of deaths published weekly by the NRS because the Scottish Government’s data are based on deaths of those who have tested positive for Covid-19.
The NRS figures include all deaths where Covid-19 (included suspected cases) was mentioned on the death certificate.
The First Minister said: “Deaths in care homes made up 55% of all deaths linked to the virus last week, which is down from 57% the previous week and the number of deaths as a result of Covid-19 reduced again.
“However, as all of us will agree, that number remains too high.
“I know that none of these statistical patterns will ever console those who have lost a loved one to this virus and my thoughts and sympathies are with each and every one of them but the trends we are seeing do matter and they provide further grounds for encouragement.
“In particular the number of Covid-19 deaths has fallen for a third week and are now almost half the level of three weeks ago.
“Deaths in care homes and excess deaths have also fallen.”
I know that none of these statistical patterns will ever console those who have lost a loved one to this virus and my thoughts and sympathies are with each and every one of them but the trends we are seeing do matter and they provide further grounds for encouragement.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The encouraging statistics come ahead of the First Minister publishing her road map on Thursday outlining the phases for coming out of lockdown.
Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services, said every death from the virus is a “tragedy”. He added: “These statistics, alongside the other important evidence being made available by the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), are valuable to the understanding of the progress and impact of the Covid-19 virus across Scotland.
“These latest figures show that for the third week running since reporting of registered deaths relating to Covid-19 began there has been a reduction in Covid-19-related deaths.
“Our aim is to ensure that our statistical publication provides information that is as useful as possible and adds value to the understanding of how the virus is spreading throughout the country. We will continue to review and develop these statistics as new information is made available.”
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