Public Health Scotland said 78 people were discharged to homes between March 1 and April 21 – just as the pandmic 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.
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”.
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.”
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.
“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.”
This is a breaking story. More to follow…