A RECORD 15,849 cases have been reported in the latest daily Covid-19 figures for Scotland.

The total includes a backlog of test results from before Christmas, with the new data the first to be released since December 24.

A further three people have also died after contracting the disease in the previous 28 days, bringing the total under that measure to 9836.

The new statistics show a total of 63,238 tests for Covid-19 were carried out, with an extremely high positivity rate of 28.9%.

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Commenting on the unusually high rate, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs during her Covid update in Parliament: "It is worth noting that the much higher test positivity in recent days may be partially explained by people being more selective about when to go for a test over the Christmas period."

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

Amid ongoing PCR testing issues, Public Health Scotland stated: “There continues to be large volumes of tests being processed by labs; this and the festive period have impacted turnaround times for results.

“The figures being reported today will include a backlog from before Christmas. We are starting to see improvements in turnaround times, and continue to monitor the situation.”

READ MORE: PCR tests temporarily unavailable across much of Scotland

Some 679 people were in hospital on Tuesday with recently confirmed Covid.

Of those patients, 36 were in intensive care.

A total of 4,380,108 people have received their first dose of a vaccination, 4,009,886 have received their second dose, and 2,901,719 have received a third dose or booster.

Although the Scottish Government has not been releasing its usual daily figures over the Christmas period, provision statistics have pointed to a steep increase in cases.

The provisional updates on daily case numbers over the festive period are as follows: December 25: 8252 cases December 26: 11,030 cases December 27: 10,562 cases December 28: 9360 cases.

While the data covers tests reported in the preceding 24-hour period, a lag in reporting means that the majority of these cases will relate to tests done before the Christmas break.

Earlier this week, members of the public reported waiting up to four days for a PCR test result in Scotland, which should normally take 24 hours.

National clinical director of Scotland Professor Jason Leitch said after speaking to test and protect staff on Monday, the backlog was cleared and the wait for test results should have resumed to normal – between 24 and 36 hours.

But problems have arisen again, with tests unavailable across much of Scotland on Wednesday.