The First Minister announced today that the measure used to record the number of people in hospital with coronavirus was changing - resulting in the official number plummeting from 262 to just 48.

Nicola Sturgeon had previously indicated that the Scottish Government was reviewing the way in which the numbers were reported, with the suggestion that a deceptively high number of hospital cases were being recorded. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Real number of Covid patients in hospital in Scotland slashed to 48 after 'overcounting' controversy

The new method will be in place from tomorrow, but which patients will be counted and why will the number change? 

The old method

The previous measure counted anyone who had tested positively for Covid-19 and in hospital, even if they had fully recovered from the virus and were instead still in hospital being treated for an unrelated condition. 

This method has been used since the beginning of the pandemic, and the First Minister said that it "was providing accurate information at the peak of the epidemic."

However, as time went on, Ms Sturgeon said a "higher number of hospital cases than is probably justified" was being reported.

The new method

Today, Ms Sturgeon announced that to ensure patients who no longer have Covid weren't still being counted, a new measurement would be used.

This "new definition" only applies to patients who first test positive for Covid during their current stay in hospital or two weeks before their admission. 

They will no longer be classified as 'Covid patients' after a period of 28 days in hospital or after their positive result. 

The result?

The change in measurement means that the previous tally of 262 has dropped to only 48, and Nicola Sturgeon says it will be "an improvement" but stresses the new measurement "will not be absolutely perfect."

However, she maintained that it will give a "better picture both of the current situation in hospitals" and "the changes in hospital admissions caused by new cases".

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She added that it will enable the Scottish Government to "more accurately reflect and report any increase in hospital admissions over the next period."

Ms Sturgeon also highlighted that some patients with Covid experience a longer illness from the virus that requires them to stay in hospital for longer than 28 days, which will not be captured by the new measure. 

However, Public Health Scotland has been asked to develop analysis about patients spending longer in hospital.