Scotland has recorded the highest daily number of coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, while the number of people being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals has exceeded the April peak.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday that 93 virus-related deaths had been recorded in the past 24 hours – more than the previous daily high of 84.
She also said 1,530 people are currently receiving in-patient care due to Covid-19 – which is 63 more than the figure for Thursday and exceeds the peak of 1,520 recorded in April.
Speaking during the coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “That really does underline the severity of the pressure that our hospitals are currently facing.”
The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 4,872.
Meanwhile, a further 2,309 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.
Scottish Government statistics indicate the daily test positivity rate is 8.1%, down from 11.3% on Thursday when 2,649 new positive cases were recorded.
But a senior medical adviser has claimed coronavirus case numbers in January “could have been worse”.
A total of 146,024 people have tested positive in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.
Of the patients in hospital, 102 are in intensive care – up by two on Thursday.
There were a further 692 confirmed cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, with 390 in NHS Lanarkshire and 220 in NHS Lothian.
Earlier on Friday, interim deputy chief medical officer Dr Dave Caesar said restrictions placed on Scots on Boxing Day are working, but compliance needs to remain at a high level to ensure the more transmissible strain of the virus does not spread.
All of mainland Scotland and Skye were placed into Level 4 restrictions from December 26, before a lockdown was enforced earlier this week.
“Our case numbers are high, they’re not as high as they could have been if we hadn’t taken the measures that we undertook from Boxing Day,” Dr Caesar told the BBC.
“Our health system is under serious pressure but is coping.
“I hate to say it, but it could have been worse by this time in January. We’re not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination, but I suppose we’re holding our own in very significantly challenging circumstances.”
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