THE number of people in hospital in Scotland with Covid has risen by 27 per cent since the end of May.

Statistics updated on Wednesday show a steady climb from 590 Covid positive patients on May 28 to 748 by June 12. 

The data, from Public Health Scotland, is currently published weekly instead of daily, as it was earlier in the pandemic. 

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The statistics provide a useful proxy for the spread of the virus in the community now that routine Covid testing has been wound up. 

All hospital patients continue to be tested for the virus on and during admission.

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Wastewater surveillance and household testing carried out by the Office for National Statistics, also suggest that the steady fall in infections since March has stalled. 

A new wave of Covid cases is expected to be driven by two sublineages of Omicron - BA.4 and BA.5 - which are growing in prevalence. 

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The latest ONS survey estimated that one in 40 people in Scotland had Covid by the week ending June 5, up from one in 50 the previous week. 

In its weekly Covid report today, PHS notes that "wastewater viral levels have remained stable in recent weeks" following a previous decline.

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According to PHS, in the week ending June 7 there were 535 Covid admissions in Scotland - up from 469 and 423 in the previous weeks. 

Nearly half (46%) are cases in patients over 70, who are more likely to be in hospital "because of" Covid. 

The total Covid admissions include patients being treated in hospital because of the infection, patients who were admitted for other reasons but then tested positive, and patients who have contracted with virus while in hospital.

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The rise in Covid cases in hospital comes after Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the pandemic had left NHS staff "completely knackered", while Dr Lailah Peel, who chairs the British Medical Association's Scottish Junior Doctors Committee, said the bottlenecks in A&E are "frankly dangerous"

A rise in Covid patients is problematic because they have to be isolated to reduce the risk of the infection spreading, resulting in ward closures and a loss of beds. 

The infection can also hamper recovery and delay treatment, resulting in longer hospital stays and fewer beds available for new admissions.