A record number of patients were infected with coronavirus while already in hospital during the first full week of January, figures show.
Public Health Scotland data reveals that in the week ending January 10, 219 hospital patients were found to have definitely caught Covid-19 while on a ward for treatment unrelated to coronavirus.
A further 113 patients were thought to have “probable hospital onset” of the virus.
The Public Health Scotland statistics record a definite case of hospital infection in cases where a patient tested positive for Covid 15 days or more after being admitted to hospital.
Probable cases are where a positive test result is recorded between eight and 14 days after someone was admitted.
The figures for the week ending January 10 – the most-recently published data – take the totals up to 2,639 definite and 1,142 probable infections in Scottish hospitals.
During that week, Scotland recorded 15,173 new cases of coronavirus – including the highest daily increase of 2,649 people testing positive on January 7.
Since then, the number of people known to have Covid-19 in Scotland has risen by 126,615, taking the cumulative total to 1,580,148 since the start of the pandemic.
Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “This is extremely worrying and SNP ministers are simply not doing enough to keep our hospitals safe.
“Scottish Labour has been calling for enhanced PPE to protect staff and patients from emerging variants of the virus.
“We’ve been raising the alarm on Covid spreading in hospitals throughout the pandemic.
“Exhausted staff need more support, better PPE and additional help with infection control measures.
“The Scottish Government has been far too dismissive when quizzed about hospital-onset cases. This must be a wake-up call.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Any rise in hospital onset cases of Covid-19 is concerning but we are working hard with health boards to manage and reduce this through the winter preparedness and remobilisation plans.
“Our hospitals are operating at a significantly higher bed occupancy now compared to the first wave and the additional pressure as a result of increased admission of patients who have acquired Covid-19 in the community.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have worked hard to ensure that infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in hospital and other care settings are robust.
“This includes measures such as the appropriate use of PPE, extended use of face masks and coverings, physical distancing, outbreak management, the expansion of asymptomatic patient-facing staff testing and admission testing to ensure patients are placed in the appropriate pathway.”