Covid deaths pass 1,000 in Sunderland as health services see 'unprecedented demand' and face 'extremely challenging winter'

Covid deaths have passed 1,000 in Sunderland, with health chiefs warning of challenging times ahead.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 1:07 pm

The grime milestone was revealed as health bosses heard Covid-19 rates in Sunderland are higher than this time last year, just after the second lockdown began.

Gerry Taylor, executive director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning at Sunderland City Council, said case numbers have varied over the last month, but have remained “generally high”.

She said 1,000 Covid-related deaths had now been recorded by registrars in the city.

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Public health director Gerry Taylor.

Speaking the council’s Health and Wellbeing committee, Ms Taylor said health services in Wearside are seeing a seven day case rate of around 430-440 per 100,000, which she expects to rise “a little bit” in the coming days.

She said: “That is a high rate and if we compare it to a year ago, when we’d just gone into lockdown two, we’re slightly higher than we were when we went into lockdown two last year, so it’s a position of a really high number of cases.

“It’s a difficult position which is reflecting itself in pressure on health and social care.

“We are still seeing regular deaths, about one a day, just under, at the moment.”

She added they are seeing “very high case rates amongst school children”, which saw her write to schools before half term with suggestions for reducing transmission.

However it was also noted Sunderland is seeing “quite a high number of cases” among working-age adults and over-60s.

Philip Foster, managing director at All Together Better Alliance, which brings together providers and commissioning organisations in Sunderland, warned demand through summer and into autumn has been “extremely high” across the system.

He said: “Everybody knows that we face an unprecedented demand on all of our services at this moment in time and winter’s going to be extremely challenging.

“Health partners have been operating at unprecedented levels of demand, and have seen significant pressures on emergency and urgent care services mainly due to rising numbers of Covid cases.”

Health chiefs also stressed the “most important thing” residents can do in response is to get vaccinated.

Cllr Michael Butler said: “I think that’s the message we need to get out there, you’re not taking it to protect yourself, you’re taking it to protect others.”

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