Almost a third (30.8 per cent) of all patients who definitely or probably caught Covid-19 while in hospital for other reasons died within a month.
NHS Scotland figures show 1,137 patients who were definitely infected while on a ward died in the subsequent 28 days in addition to 524 deaths linked to “probable” cases of hospital-acquired coronavirus.
Of all the patients who were diagnosed with coronavirus after being admitted to hospital – regardless of where the person was infected – 4,089 (26.9 per cent) died within 28 days.
The mortality data, published by Public Health Scotland, covers the period from March 7 last year to today.
During that time, there were at least 3,725 definite cases of hospital infection where a patient tests positive 15 days or more after being admitted, and 1,671 probable cases where a positive test is recorded between eight and 14 days after admission.
The report, produced by Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI) Scotland, suggests there is no evidence that patients who catch coronavirus in hospital are at a higher risk of death.
However, it adds those who are diagnosed with hospital-acquired Covid-19 are likely to be older, spend longer in hospital, have underlying health problems and are also “more likely to die from other causes”.
It concludes: “As 28-day all-cause mortality is no different in patients admitted to hospital with likely community acquisition to those who develop nosocomial Covid-19 (probable or definite hospital onset), preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in all settings is critical to reducing morbidity and mortality from Covid-19.”