Public Health Scotland said 78 people were discharged to homes between March 1 and April 21 – just as the pandemic was beginning to get a grip on the country.
Thousands of others were also sent from hospitals to care homes without being tested.
From these 3,599 people, just 650 were given coronavirus tests.
During this time, official guidance only stated tests were only required if they were displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
When wider testing capabilities were rolled out across Scotland in the two months following, 278 of the patients who were discharged from hospital and sent to care homes tested positive.
The report from Public Health Scotland said between March 1 and June 21, nearly 350 care homes suffered a coronavirus outbreak.
Around half of the 4,400 deaths linked to the virus in the country were accounted for by the facilities.
Dozens of hospital patients who had tested positive for COVID were sent to care homes
But the PHS report insisted the risk of an outbreak being connected to hospital discharges was “not statistically significant”, adding the size of care homes was actually a more defining factor.
First Minister Ms Sturgeon said the PHS report concludes that allowing for other factors, such as the size of a care home, “hospital discharges were not found to have contributed to a significantly higher risk of an outbreak”.
Quoting directly from the report, she told the daily Government briefing: “The analysis does not find statistical evidence that hospital discharges of any kind were associated with care home outbreaks.”
But Ms Sturgeon said the PHS report highlights “the need for additional measures”, promising her SNP Government “will act on that”.
Nicola Sturgeon is coming under huge pressure over the SNP’s handling of the pandemic
She insisted she wants people to know “we take this very seriously.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Nothing in it (the report) detracts from the tragedy of the deaths that have occurred in care homes over the course of the pandemic, and nothing ever will detract from the heartbreak of those bereaved.
“Where the reports conclusions highlight the need for additional measures, we will act on that.
“I want people to know we take this very seriously.”
The First Minister said the report highlights ‘the need for additional measures’
Nicola Sturgeon said her SNP Government will take the findings from the report ‘very seriously’
But the Scottish Conservatives have lashed out at the SNP, with Shadow Health Secretary Donald Cameron claiming the report revealed a “scandalous dereliction” of public health duties.
He raged families of hospital patients who were “knowingly” discharged into care homes have been waiting for months for the Government to provide them with answers.
Mr Cameron has now called for “full and frank disclosure from the SNP.”
The Shadow Health Secretary said: “Families who lost loved ones after Covid-positive hospital patients were knowingly discharged into care homes have been waiting months for answers from this SNP government.
Coronavirus cases have been surging throughout the UK
“Today’s overdue report reveals a scandalous dereliction in the provision of public health to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“To see people’s worst fears confirmed by these statistics only adds to the need for full and frank disclosure from the SNP.”
The shocking report comes after Ms Sturgeon announced the number of positive coronavirus cases in Scotland has passed 60,000.
She said there had been 28 coronavirus deaths and 1,202 positive tests recorded in the past 24 hours.
The Scottish Government is preparing to reveal how a new nation-wide tiered system of restrictions in the battle to bring the spread of coronavirus under control.
Decisions on which levels will apply to each region of the country will be announced on Thursday.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The position we are in right now is really tough and everyone is thoroughly sick of it.
“That has been the case for some time but as the nights get darker and we head into winter, and as our attention and thoughts turn to Christmas, I think that feeling becomes a heavier one for all of us.”
Commenting on the pandemic, the First Minister added: “We will get through it, I think that is the one thing we can be reasonably certain of.
“But the journey through it is, and will continue to be, really difficult for people.”
This is a breaking story. More to follow…