More than 850 deaths in Yorkshire care homes linked to coronavirus since start of pandemic, new data reveals
More than 40 per cent of all coronavirus deaths in Yorkshire happened in care homes in the space of a week, new data has revealed.
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there were a total of 524 deaths in Yorkshire where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, in the week up to May 1 - the latest data available.
And of those deaths 217 (41 per cent) were in care homes, fuelling fears the pandemic remains rife in social care settings.
This was compared to 286 (54 per cent) in hospital.
The figures showed there had been 2,754 coronavirus-related deaths in Yorkshire since the beginning of the year.
Of the total number, 133 (4.8 per cent) people died at home, 864 (31.3 per cent) were in care homes, 1,706 (61.9 per cent) were in hospital, and 27 (0.9 per cent) were in hospices. Some 24 (0.8 per cent) were recorded as having died elsewhere.
Leeds had the most deaths, with 468 people having coronavirus mentioned on their death certificate.
The total number of coronavirus related deaths in Yorkshire, up to May 1, by local authority area are:
Hull - 82
East Riding of Yorkshire - 156
City of York - 94
Craven - 48
Hambleton - 53
Harrogate - 98
Richmondshire - 24
Ryedale - 21
Scarborough - 54
Selby - 22
Barnsley - 135
Doncaster - 115
Rotherham - 193
Sheffield - 375
Bradford - 307
Calderdale - 89
Kirklees - 203
Leeds - 468
Wakefield - 217
Analysis now puts the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK at over 40,000.
Separate data, which is reported daily, showed at least 2,159 people had died in Yorkshire’s hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus.
Data from the ONS shows that between the week ending March 27 – towards the start of the outbreak – and May 1, some 108,345 deaths were registered in England and Wales.
This is 46,494 more deaths than the five-year average, with Covid-19 contributing to 75 per cent of the excess fatalities.
These non-coronavirus related deaths are being investigated by ONS, which says it will publish detailed analysis on this in the future.
When looking at the figures by date of death, they suggest a peak in daily care home deaths may have taken place on April 17, when 415 deaths occurred.
During the following week, daily deaths declined consecutively for all days but one – April 22, when deaths rose by 20.
The corresponding peak for deaths in hospitals is April 8, when 983 occurred.
In the week ending May 1, there were 17,953 deaths registered across England and Wales – a decrease for the second week running.
But Nick Stripe, head of health analysis at the ONS, said this is still around 8,000 deaths above the average for this time of year.
Speaking to BBC News, he said: “That is about 4,000 lower than it was the week before but it is still 8,000 above the average that we would expect to see in this week at this time of year.
“So it is actually the seventh highest weekly total since this data set started in 1993, so we have had four out of the top seven weeks in the last four weeks.”
He said deaths in care homes were over three times above the average number of fatalities expected for this time of year.
“Care homes is showing the slowest decline, sadly,” he told the BBC.
Of all deaths in the week ending May 1, some 6,397 were in hospitals while 6,409 were in care homes.
“For the first time that I can remember, there were more deaths in total in care homes than there were in hospitals in that week,” Mr Stripe said.
“Admittedly only 12 more, but there were more and I’ve never seen that before.”
The UK Alzheimer’s Society expressed concern about the overall death toll in care homes being higher than average for this time of year, as it called for the social care sector to be put “on an equal footing with the NHS”.
Fiona Carragher, director of research and influencing, said: “70 per cent of care home residents have dementia and we’re deeply concerned that this indicates an increase in deaths due to dementia, caused by isolation and reduction in care workers.
“Each of these deaths is a heart-breaking loss to their friends, families and carers which is why the Government must honour their commitment to ensure care homes get testing for all residents and staff and the protective equipment they need.”
Separate analysis shows there were 8,314 deaths in care homes involving coronavirus reported by care home providers in England to the Care Quality Commission between April 10 and May 8, according to the ONS.
Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, said: “Promises for care homes such as support on infection control are all very well, but we must see real action to make sure they are kept.
“This means not only supplying the proper PPE, training and support in infection control, but importantly, providing adequate funding going forward.”
In response to the figures, minister for care Helen Whately said the Government continues to “work night and day” to support social care providers.
“It is a relief to see the number of deaths in care homes falling, but sadly they continue to make up a significant proportion of coronavirus-related deaths and our work is not done,” she said.
“Supporting the social care sector through this pandemic has always been a priority, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they have all they need to look after those in their care.”
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