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- 5th First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party
The publication of data on Covid-19 hospital admissions has been delayed to Friday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said last week Public Health Scotland (PHS) would publish information on Scots in hospital because of Covid-19 and cases identified because of admissions for another reason.
As of Wednesday, 154 confirmed cases of Omicron have been identified in hospital patients, while just three have needed intensive care treatment.
The information would clear up how many patients have been admitted to hospital as a result of the new variant – which initial findings indicate may be less severe than other strains.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the information would be published on Wednesday.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in a virtual session at Holyrood: “I can advise Parliament that the first results from analysis to differentiate those who are in hospital because of Covid from those in hospital with Covid but who were admitted for different reasons will be published on Friday.”
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “There is clearly a difference between being in hospital or intensive care with Covid and being in hospital or intensive care because of Covid, especially if there’s an outbreak in a hospital.”
The Labour leader went on to urge the First Minister to publish the PHS data “as a matter of urgency”.
But Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ve not seen that data yet around Omicron, I’ve said in my statement the first analysis of that will be published on Friday, which is as soon as PHS consider it will be in a robust state.”
Just because somebody with Covid is in hospital for another reason, doesn't take away the impact of Covid
Ms Sturgeon said that, regardless of the reason for a patient being admitted to hospital, contracting the virus still has an impact on the health service.
“Just because somebody with Covid is in hospital for another reason, doesn’t take away the impact of Covid,” she said in response to Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.
“Because the fact they have Covid means that there has to be special infection control measures around that patient in terms of distancing and other things that apply so that reduces further the capacity of the health service and increases the pressure.”
She added: “We shouldn’t kid ourselves on that because somebody with Covid is in hospital for another reason, that somehow takes away all of the difficult impacts of them having Covid has.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton accused the First Minister of a lack of transparency over the data.
In response, the First Minister said: “There’s no point in publishing data that is not reliable because it doesn’t help anybody.
“Beyond that, I’ll continue to be as open and transparent as possible about data, about evidence.
“But ultimately, as I said before, the data and the evidence doesn’t meet the decisions, it informs the decisions.
“The decisions have to be taken by those of us who are elected to carry that responsibility and that does involve the application of judgment.
“That is what I’m elected to do and it’s what I’m held accountable for it.”