The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Tayside has almost doubled overnight following a “data transfer issue” which left a laboratory unable to submit up-to-date patient information.
The Scottish Government confirmed yesterday 214 people in the region have now been diagnosed with Covid-19, with a further 76 cases in Fife taking the number across Scotland to 1,993 – an increase of 430 from Monday.
The figures will come as a blow locally after four days when cases in Tayside were listed as between 107 and 108.
A further 13 people have now died from the virus since the last update, meaning the number of fatalities nationally has now reached 60. A total of 135 people are currently in intensive care with confirmed or suspected cases.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, first minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the dramatic overnight rise in Scottish cases was partially due to one laboratory being unable to submit data over the weekend.
She said: “I am able to confirm that as of 9am this morning there have been 1,993 positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Scotland. That is an increase of 430.
“It is important for me to point out that 108 of those 430 come from one laboratory which was unable to submit data over the weekend. That’s part of why the increase I’ve just confirmed is so significant.
“The increase also reflects the ongoing expansion of our testing capacity, which I have talked about previously.”
The first minister said there were currently 1,073 suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in Scottish hospitals alone. She said just over 6% of NHS staff were currently off work due to the illness and warned this figure is expected to rise.
Ms Sturgeon did not give further details on what had caused the laboratory delay or the location of the facility but a spokeswoman for NHS Tayside later confirmed the matter had been caused by a “data transfer issue”.
The number of daily tests also saw a sharp rise in yesterday’s figures, meaning the number of individuals in Scotland being tested for coronavirus has now reached 13,902. It is understood this number was also affected by the laboratory delay.
Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said the number of people being tested continued to rise but stressed the increase in positive cases was “not simply because we are testing more people”.
“The proportion of those tests which are positive is increasing day by day,” she said.
“This shows us that within Scotland at the moment, despite how well people are complying with the measures, despite the stringency of those measures we have put on the population… numbers of cases every day in Scotland continue to increase.
“So the proportion of people we are seeing is increasing day by day, even with these measures in place.
“Obviously we don’t know how fast it would increase without these measures, but I want to emphasise that despite what we’re doing, the virus is still being transmitted in our communities.”
The update came as new powers were unveiled at the Scottish Parliament via the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill to deal with a variety of issues including special measures for court trials and safeguards for tenants.
The provisions in the bill will expire on September 30 unless MSPs grant an extension.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I very much hope that it will not be too long before we are standing here at one of these briefings talking about the slowing down of this virus.
“But we are not yet at that stage, and when we do reach that stage it will only be because people have been doing the right thing by staying at home.”