New figures reveal deadly impact of coronavirus on Northumberland

A fall in the number of coronavirus-linked hospital deaths in Northumberland has been followed by a rise in care homes.

By James Harrison
Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:43 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th May 2020, 8:01 am

According to the latest government figures, COVID-19 was referenced on 210 out of 1,731 death certificates issued in the county since the start of 2020.

The numbers issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed that at the peak of the outbreak, the virus accounted for a third of all Northumberland’s deaths in its most deadly week, in mid-April.

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A file picture from PA. Picture by Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The data shows that over the last five weeks the number of deaths linked to coronavirus in hospital, as well as the total number in all settings, fell, before levelling off or rising slightly.

But in the county’s care homes the number rose before the trend flattened, with 18 COVID-linked fatalities in each of the three most recent weeks for which data is available.

ONS figures currently available record deaths up to May 15.

Coronavirus deaths are those in which the disease is mentioned on a death certificate.

These numbers do not include so-called ‘collateral deaths’ of anyone who may have died from a separate condition as a result of treatment or diagnosis being delayed by the virus outbreak.

So far this year, COVID-linked deaths in Northumberland account for about 12 per cent of the total, lower than the North East average of 15.4 per cent.

The worst affected areas in the region have been Sunderland and Middlesbrough, which have seen the virus linked to about one in every five deaths in 2020.

National figures have shown falling death rates, following a peak several weeks ago.

“These numbers confirm a steady downward trend in both deaths from all causes and from Covid that has been evident since the middle of April,” said Prof David Leon, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“This downward trend is seen in all settings.

“In care homes and hospitals, total deaths [nationwide] in this most recent week ending 15 May have more than halved compared to their respective peaks.”

Prof Leon also said the latest data suggested so-called ‘collateral deaths’ of people who had delayed treatment or diagnosis of some health conditions due to the coronavirus outbreak may also be falling.

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