Covid Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon set to give coronavirus update as cases spike and hospitals go 'Code Black'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to give a coronavirus briefing at lunchtime on Thursday to update Scots on the pandemic following a spike in cases and a number of hospitals declaring ‘code black’ status.

The media briefing will take place at around 12.15pm and can be streamed via the Scottish Government’s twitter feed.

You can also follow along via the Scotsman’s Live Blog.

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The update follows the news that two more hospitals – Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin – are operating at “code black” status.

Raigmore hospital in Inverness announced on Tuesday that it was facing ‘unprecedented’ demand amid rising Covid cases and staff forced to self-isolate.

The hospital had reached capacity, with long waits at A&E – known as “code black” status, the most serious level of system pressure.

Ms Sturgeon has previously said that the situation was being kept under careful review, which cast fresh doubt over plans for Scotland to move to Level 0 on July 19 as set out by the Government timetable for restrictions easing.

After several days of falling infection numbers, just under 3,800 new Covid cases were recorded in Scotland on Tuesday – 1,400 more than the previous day.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is going to give a coronavirus briefing at lunchtime on Thursday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is going to give a coronavirus briefing at lunchtime on Thursday.

It is expected that Ms Sturgeon will address the spike in her update on Thursday afternoon.

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Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, Jillian Evans head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said that there were three main reasons that hospitals were under particular strain at the moment.

She said: “What we're seeing is a higher proportion of unscheduled patients in our hospitals for this time of year, and many of those have got more complex needs, the acuity of their care is higher than we've seen previously.

“So our critical care units are very busy."

The second reason Ms Evans gave was the spike in coronavirus cases Scotland is currently experiencing, she predicted that the number of Covid-19 sufferers admitted to hospital will only continue to rise, putting further pressure on the NHS.

“The third thing is about staff capacity”, she said.

"Part of your induction is about the pressure cause by infection levels in our community, which inevitably affects our staff too

“So we're seeing a great deal of absence caused by Covid-19 related situations.”

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