Coronavirus update: Overall daily cases continue to drop but hospital admissions increase
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today that caution was needed when looking at the latest daily figures.
The total number of positive cases reported yesterday was 222 which represents 6.9 per cent of people newly tested, and takes the total number of cases to 27,798.
Some 54 of the cases were in Lothian, 53 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and 37 in Lanarkshire making this the lowest levels for the three areas in some time.
NHS Grampian recorded 13 cases and NHS Highland saw a further four.
Speaking at her daily briefing she said: "I want to add a note of caution around these figures.
"222 is the lowest number of new cases we have seen for some time, and is lower than we had been expecting.
"It is likely to be a weekend effect, however Health Protection Scotland are therefore checking to see if there are any issues which would explain this.
"I can also confirm that 122 people are in hospital – that is an increase of 17 from yesterday.
"16 people are in intensive care, which is four more than yesterday.
"I want to draw attention to these figures – although I concede that these figures are not as a high as at the start of the pandemic, the number of people in hospital is rising.
"I don’t say this to alarm people but I hope people will take this rise in cases seriously, and understand that we must collectively do everything we can to stem that rise and get the virus under control.
She continued: The main issue I want to update you on today is the latest guidance that we have issued for students.
"And I want to start with a thank you.
"It is clear that the vast majority of university students, over the weekend, stuck to the rules on not meeting other households indoors - and also followed the advice on not going out to pubs, cafes and restaurants.
"The incubation period for this virus means, I am sure, that we will continue to see high numbers of infections amongst students for several days to come. And there will always be a need for vigilance.
"But the responsibility you have shown over the last few days, will help to stop the virus from taking off. I want to thank you for that.
"Yesterday, we published new guidance for students who are thinking about returning home.
"Essentially, it offers additional advice on three different issues – returning home for a short visit; returning home while self-isolating; and returning home on a more permanent basis.
"For any students who are thinking about returning home for a short visit, the key thing to remember is that if you have formed a new household within your student accommodation, you cannot stay overnight in another household.
"Unfortunately, that includes your parents’ house.
"This is not a rule that just applies to students.
"So, like the rest of us, you can only meet your parents - or carers, or other family members, or friends - outdoors, or in a public indoor space such as a pub or café.
"There should be no more than six people in total in the group, from no more than two households.
"We believe the restrictions are necessary to reduce the risk of the virus spreading between different households."
She added: "Wherever possible, students who are self-isolating should stay within their student accommodation.
"If you require support, please first of all contact your college, university or student accommodation provider.
"They are there to help you and they have a responsibly to do so.
"We recognise that – even with support in place – some students may feel that they need the help and care of a friend or family member.
" That could for example be for reasons relating to physical or mental health, or finances.
"If that is the case, then you are allowed to move to another household to complete your self-isolation period.
"However I would caution that that is not a decision to be taken lightly.
"If you decide you absolutely have to move to the family home to self isolate, you should avoid using public transport.
"And, crucially, the other members of your new household – mum, dad, brothers and sisters of all ages – have to self-isolate for 14 days from the time you arrive there.
"We cannot afford to have the virus spread through the country, so it is important that you think about the impact of returning home to self-isolate.
"You should also consult your college or university to discuss your decision.
"And you should think about whether you want to go now - or if you want to take a few more weeks before making such an important long-term decision."
She concluded: "The final point I want to mention is that I understand why people are concerned about Christmas – however please do not assume that the rules in place now for home visits will still apply over Christmas.
"We review the rules every three weeks – and so we cannot produce guidance for Christmas right now, since that will partly depend on the future course of the pandemic.
"However let me be clear that it is our priority to make sure that students can return home for Christmas."