The latest figures for the first week of April show 770 people died in the region – 252 more than the same week in 2019.
And although that period saw the first significant rise in fatalities linked to COVID-19, official statistics only make a direct link with the virus in about half of cases.
Analysis shows the North East’s total death toll for the week ending Friday, April 3, was 44% higher than the average for the equivalent week across the previous five years, 2015 – 2019.
The regional trend follows national data, which appear to show about 6,000 more deaths in England and Wales than the average for the time of year.
The figures are the latest release by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which records weekly death rates, including the number in which coronavirus, either suspected or confirmed, is noted on a death certificate.
Since 2015, the North East has had just five weeks in which the regional death toll exceeded the 770 seen earlier this month.
But all five occurred in the first four weeks of the calendar year, when, in normal years, the conventional flu season and winter pressures on hospitals are at their peak.
However, statisticians also noted the changing date of Easter can have an impact on comparisons to previous years.
Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS said: “The latest comparable data for deaths involving COVID-19 with a date of death up to Friday, April 3, show there were 6,235 deaths in England and Wales.
“When looking at data for England, this is 15 per cent higher than the NHS numbers as they include all mentions of COVID-19 on the death certificate, including suspected COVID-19, as well as deaths in the community.
“The 16,387 deaths that were registered in England and Wales during the week ending Friday, April 3, is the highest weekly total since Week 2 (early January) 2000.”