THE number of patients contracting Covid in Scottish hospitals tripled in one week, figures show.

According to the latest Public Health Scotland data, in the first week of July there was 42 cases where it was 'probable or definite' that the virus was acquired in hospital.

This compares with 15 cases in the previous week, up to June 27. 

There were 28 reported cases - in the week ending July 4 - where it was possible to say conclusively that Covid was acquired in hospital because patients tested positive 15 days or more after admission. This was triple the number in the previous week where nine cases were reported.

Probable hospital onset - a positive test on days 8-14 of admission - accounted for 14 cases, compared to 6 in the seven days up to June 27.

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In a further 11 cases, it was not possible to say if patients had acquired the virus in the community or in hospital. There is a lag in the reporting of figures so it is not possible to determine if hospital acquired infections have been increasing since the first week in July.

A Scottish Government spokesman said Covid patients were continuing to be admitted to hospital which meant there was a risk of transmission and said more people were being tested. 

The total number of reported cases of Covid in the week ending July 4 23,228 and of these the vast majority 23,049 (99.2%) were reported as community onset. In the previous week there 19,500 (99.4%).

Almost 1,400 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Scotland during the past 24 hours.  

The latest statistics from the Scottish Government show that 1,398 new infections recorded, a rise of 219 since Wednesday.

During the past 24 hours, 13 new deaths have been reported of someone who tested positive for the virus during the past 28 days. 

This means the total toll according to the measure used by the Scottish Government now stands at 7,924.

Other data, which was published today by Public Health Scotland shows that cases of Norovirus in Scots hospitals have dropped dramatically this year.

In the week up to July 25 there were 42 confirmed cases, compared with 199 around the same time last year.

The report does state that lab cases represent only a small proportion of the true incidence in the community as most cases will experience a relatively mild illness.

It follows new research which shows hospital acquired infections affect 7,500 Scots patients - one in every hundred - every year costing the NHS £46.4 million.

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Most of these infections were caused by Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Norovirus, and higher proportions were found in intensive care/high dependency, renal medicine and cardiothoracic surgery.

However the first study of its kind for 20 years found Scotland's incidence was lower than previously estimated and compares favourably with historic estimates in the UK (7.8%) and recent studies in wider Europe (3%).

The study, which was led by Glasgow Caledonian University, also found that urinary tract infection was the most commonly occurring HAI, followed by blood stream infection, lower respiratory tract infection, gastrointestinal infection, surgical site infection, and pneumonia.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "Ensuring people are able to access safe and effective care while in hospital is our top priority.  

"As community prevalence of Covid-19 and related hospital admissions have increased in recent weeks, hospital clusters of Covid have risen at a slower pace.”

“As Covid-19 patients are still being admitted to hospitals, the risk of transmission remains.

"We are testing more patients in hospital, enabling us to identify more asymptomatic positive cases.  

"This means we can provide the right care and treatment for patients whilst implementing enhanced infection prevention and control measures to reduce the opportunity for further transmission.”