Covid Scotland: Surging case numbers could stabilise later this week, says Humza Yousaf

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Surging coronavirus case numbers could start to stabilise this week, Scotland’s Health Secretary has said.

Humza Yousaf was speaking after the NHS recorded the largest number of coronavirus patients in Scotland’s hospitals since the start of the pandemic

Figures published on Tuesday showed 2,221 hospital patients had recently confirmed Covid-19, which was the second day in a row a record high had been reached.

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Covid infection rates remain high across Scottish health boards. Picture: Michael GillenCovid infection rates remain high across Scottish health boards. Picture: Michael Gillen
Covid infection rates remain high across Scottish health boards. Picture: Michael Gillen

Mr Yousaf insisted the NHS can cope with the situation – though he warned “really difficult decisions” are having to be made.

Bosses at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – Scotland’s largest health board – have urged people not to attend accident and emergency units unless their condition is either life-threatening or urgent.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Wednesday, Mr Yousaf said: “Every single health board, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, are having to deprioritise other treatments, and at times quite urgent treatment, and people are having to suffer as a result.”

However, he insisted the country is in a far better place than it was two years ago when the first national lockdown was imposed, citing the impact vaccination and the development of anti-viral treatments have had in the fight against the virus.

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“We are in a much better position when dealing with high case numbers than we were two years ago,” he said.

A subvariant of the Omicron strain has seen infection levels increasing, but Mr Yousaf indicated coming days could see the situation stabilise.

The health secretary said: “I think we need probably a few more days of data to tell us exactly where we are, but if case numbers remain where they were yesterday for example, [if] that pattern remains over the course of the week, I think we could say we are seeing at least a stabilising picture.

“After stabilisation we would like to see cases of course reduce.

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“We know there is a lag thereafter of hospitalisations, but it is fair to say that last week certainly, and I can certainly say the beginning of this week, from those I am speaking to across the country in our health boards, they are telling me those have been the most challenging weeks our health service has ever faced because of that pressure of the highest ever number of Covid patients.”

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