Warning that Covid-19 is still 'at large' in South Tyneside

Health bosses have warned coronavirus is still ‘at large’ in South Tyneside, despite a sustained fall in the number of deaths.

COVID-19 has been linked to just two deaths per week for the most recent three weeks official data is available for.

At the outbreak’s peak in April and May, the virus was considered a factor in about a third of all deaths in the borough.

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These are the latest coronavirus figures for South Tyneside
A the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kit. Picture by Ben Birchall/PA Wire

But despite the recent slump, care chiefs have insisted guidelines must be followed to prevent a second spike in infections and fatalities.

Tom Hall, director of Public Health at South Tyneside Council, said: “These statistics are clearly encouraging, and I’d like to thank everyone in the borough who has done their bit over the last few months to protect themselves and others and help prevent the spread of the virus.

“We also can’t forget of course, the many people who have sadly lost their lives to COVID-19.

“The virus is still very much at large, and we can’t afford to become complacent at this stage.

“We all have a responsibility to continue to do all we can to help contain the virus by adhering to guidelines around social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene.”

According to the latest data available from the Office for National Statistics, there were just two deaths in the borough linked to COVID-19 in each of the three weeks ending June 5, June 12 and June 19.

In each week, one death was at a care home and one in hospital.

The borough’s single most deadly week, both for COVID-19 and overall deaths, was the week ending April 24, when 24 out of 70 deaths were connected to the virus.

Hall added: “COVID is a challenge we will live with for some time yet, and it is vitally important that we continue to do all we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the health and care system.”

Prof Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at the Open University, said the virus ‘hasn’t gone away’, but said there was cause for encouragement after deaths fell to their lowest levels since March.

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