Dozens of patients in Scotland who had tested positive for Covid-19 while in hospital were then discharged to care homes back in the spring, a new report has revealed.
The report by Public Health Scotland shows that 78 people were discharged to a care home after being tested positive between 1 March and 21 April.
It adds there were 3,599 discharges from hospital to a care home between 1 March and 21 April.
The majority (81.9%) of which were not tested for Covid-19, in-keeping with clinical guidance which restricted testing to those with symptoms of infection at the time.
Of the 650 who were tested, 78 received a positive result while in hospital.
And the report found there were 1,605 discharges from hospital to a care home in Scotland between 22 April and 31 May.
The majority (93%) were tested for Covid-19, in line with the changes in clinical guidance.
Of these, 1,215 tested negative and 278 tested positive.
Of those who tested positive, 233 had a negative test result prior to discharge.
Using laboratory confirmed cases, the report estimates 348 (32%) of care homes in Scotland experienced an outbreak of Covid-19 in the home between 1 March and 21 June.
The report found there was a link between the chance of an outbreak and the size of a care home, with the bigger care homes more likely to experience an outbreak.
Of the care homes with more than 90 residents, 90.2% had an outbreak, compared to just 3.7% of homes with fewer than 20 residents.
‘The data from this report gives us a better understanding of the impact of discharges on outbreaks in care homes. We will be taking forward the recommendations that PHS make in their report, and we will continue to adapt our guidance and the steps we are taking to protect care home staff and residents in line with the latest data, scientific evidence and clinical advice,’ said Scottish health minister, Jean Freeman.
‘Keeping Covid under control requires a continued collective effort and we only succeed if we all play our part. That is why I ask again that everyone across Scotland abides by the current restrictions. Please do the right thing and help to keep our country safe.’
The chief executive of Age Scotland, Brian Sloan said the report will make ‘grim reading’ for the families of those who lost loved ones to Covid-19 in care homes.
‘There were clearly a number of mistakes made in the early stages of the pandemic, and knowingly discharging patients into care homes following positive tests will certainly not have helped control the spread of the virus. Doing so seems irresponsible at best,’ said Mr Sloan.
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