Covid-19 deaths down by a third in South Tyneside - but chiefs say figures must be treated with caution

New cases of COVID-19 and deaths from the virus have dropped by almost a third over the past week in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
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The numbers were welcomed by health chiefs at South Tyneside Council, despite warnings normality was ‘unlikely’ to resume in the near future.

But the public has also been urged to treat data related to the coronavirus outbreak cautiously due to differences in the way different organisations collect and report figures.

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“There are a large number of caveats about the data, which makes direct comparisons between local authority areas and hospital trusts on both cases and deaths challenging”, said Tom Hall, director of public health at South Tyneside Council.

Picture c/o PixabayPicture c/o Pixabay
Picture c/o Pixabay

“The figures are heavily dependent on where and when tests are undertaken, and also where deaths occur.”

Hall was speaking at a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet on April 29, which was held virtually and broadcast online for the first time due to social distancing restrictions.

According to the borough council’s data, the first COVID-19 case in the UK was confirmed on January 30, with South Tyneside’s first recorded on March 15.

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This number has now risen to at least 501 (the number of confirmed cases as of April 29).

The first coronavirus death recorded by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (STSFT), which runs South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital, was on March 19, with the death toll now standing at more than 250.

In South Tyneside, the highest number of reported cases in a single day was 30, on April 16.

STSFT had its largest number of virus deaths in a single day, 19, on April 6.

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Over the past week, STSFT has seen COVID-19 fatalities fall by 31%, compared to the previous week, with a similar fall in confirmed cases in South Tyneside.

Council chiefs are among those continuing to remind people of the importance of social distancing and adhering to the restrictions to help stop the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.