Statistics and guidance for sampling and laboratory investigations: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

1. Please confirm whether the number of actual hospital admissions in Scotland for reporting purposes include only patients that were admitted due to a symptomatic Covid infection, rather than being asymptomatically tested upon arrival as part of standard protocol and subsequently being deemed a Covid hospital case despite potentially not requiring treatment for Covid itself?

2. If these numbers include all patients admitted to hospital who are routinely tested, please confirm the actual number of positive cases that were admitted to hospital initially as Covid confirmed cases requiring Covid treatment to date.

3. In terms of PCR testing, there does not appear to be any published documentation to determine the maximum cycle threshold limit at which positive tests are recorded in Scotland. Please publish the standard Scottish Government approved protocol used by laboratories processing the PCR tests for Covid in Scotland and confirm the maximum Ct cut-off that is deemed as reliable and used to confirm a true positive test result, rather than a false positive, for Positive-case reporting purposes.


1. The hospital admissions data published by Public Health Scotland includes all patients who tested positive in hospital, or during the 14 days prior to admission.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

2.  The Scottish Government does not have information about numbers admitted to hospital to be treated for COVID-19 symptoms versus those found positive through routine testing.

3. The Scottish Government does not hold information on individual thresholds for every RT-PCR test in use as the validation and interpretation of the results are carried out by the individual laboratory performing the test.

Public Health Scotland have produced guidance for sampling and laboratory investigations which includes protocols for reporting SARS COV-2 PCR positives:

PHS also published a frequently asked question document (although please note that this document is currently being updated):

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. However, you may wish to contact Public Health Scotland at who may be able to help you.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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