YOUNGER people with coronavirus are behind a dramatic new surge in patients with the disease being admitted to hospital, according to official data published today.

Public Health Scotland is reporting this afternoon that the age groups with the most hospital admissions last week were those between 20 and 29 and 30 and 39.

In an update on its website it said: "In the week ending 29 June 2021, there were 306 admissions to hospital with a laboratory confirmed test of COVID-19.

"The highest number of new admissions were seen amongst those aged 20-29 years and 30-39 years."

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The detailed PHS breakdown for the week showed that 40 people aged from 20 to 30 and 48 people aged from 30 to 39 were admitted to hospital with Covid last week, this compared to 31 people aged over 80, and 37 people aged between 70 and 79.

The PHS data also shows that there has been more than a doubling of coronavirus patients in hospital in Scotland in the last two weeks from 170 people on June 23 to 387 people today.

Scottish Greens health spokeswoman Gillian Mackay said: "There is no doubt that young people can and are getting sick from Covid, and can suffer long term ill-health from long COVID too. 

"The figures are very worrying and reflect the fact younger people have not been fully vaccinated, but it is also the case that fully vaccinated people can still catch the virus and get sick too.

"Young people were asked to put their lives on hold to protect the most vulnerable in society and their lives and health are being considered collateral damage. This is why the UK Government's approach is a reckless gamble and the Scottish Government should be much more cautious in the weeks ahead."

The National has asked PHS for an age breakdown of the 387 Covid patients currently in hospital.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said younger people were accounting for a higher proportion of Covid patients being admitted to hospital because of the protection older people had received from the vaccines.

“As the effect of the vaccine is felt there has been an expected increase in the proportion of hospitalisations that are from younger age groups – as older age groups who are most at risk from serious consequences from the virus have increased protection as a result of vaccination," he said.

“A higher proportion of recent hospital admissions in younger age groups might mean that fewer of the people being admitted to hospital are becoming seriously ill or requiring intensive care.  

“The vaccination programme is helping to weaken the link between new cases, and serious health harms.  For example, the proportion of people who get Covid, who now require hospital treatment, fell from around 13% in January, to 3% in mid-to-late June. It appears that Covid patients, on average, are spending less time in hospital.”

The development comes as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepares to set out her plans next week for an easing of restrictions.

MSPs will hear her statement when the Scottish Parliament is recalled on Tuesday.

On Tuesday economy secretary Kate Forbes said while rules over the wearing of face masks would remain in place for some time other restrictions were due to be relaxed with the country on course to move to level 0 on July 19.

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"We have said that all of Scotland will move to level 0 on the 19th July so that includes the easing of physical distancing indoors and outdoors and then we will move beyond Level 0 from the 9th of August," she told the BBC.

"But we expect some baseline measures for example face masks, some limitations on working from home and so will continue for a longer period of time."

Asked what she meant by going beyond Level 0, she added: "We mean that we are lifting the limits and lifting as much of the legal restrictions as possible, that means physical distancing, it means the attendee caps on for example life events like weddings or being in stadiums and that kind of thing but we do think there will be some baseline measures such as the wearing of face masks which will continue for a longer period of while as we know the virus is still with us and that it is still infectious."

Meanwhile, the latest figures published yesterday recorded 3,800 new coronavirus cases in Scotland in the past 24 hours, 1,400 more than the previous day and after several days of falling infection numbers.

The deaths of five coronavirus patients have also been recorded, meaning the death toll under this daily measure - of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days - is now 7,740.

The Scottish Government data for Wednesday indicates the daily test positivity rate is 10%, down from 10.2% the previous day.

The number of positive cases, 3,799, is up from 2,363 announced on Tuesday and the first increase since a record high of 4,234 on Thursday July 1.

A total of 387 people were in hospital on Tuesday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 41 in 24 hours, with 34 patients in intensive care, up two.
So far, 3,890,176 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 2,808,902 have had their second.

Data from National Records of Scotland (NRS) shows 21 Covid-related deaths were recorded in Scotland in the past week, an increase of four on the previous seven days.

NRS director of statistical services Pete Whitehouse said: "The death rate continues to rise slightly but the number of deaths compared to the number of Covid-19 cases remains low.

"Four deaths were aged under 65, six were aged 65-74 and there were 11 deaths in people aged 75 or over. Nine were female and 12 were male."

Falkirk Council area saw the highest number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the week to July 4 with four, followed by Glasgow with three, while Clackmannanshire, Perth and Kinross and South Lanarkshire all had two.

There was one death in each of the following council areas: Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire.

Fifteen of the deaths occurred in hospitals, four were in care homes, and two were in a home or a non-institutional setting.
The figures, published by the NRS on Wednesday, cover the week from June 28 to July 4.

It means that as of Sunday, 10,189 deaths have now been registered in Scotland with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

The NRS statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because the NRS figures include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.