The death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic in Birmingham and surrounding areas has reached a grim milestone with more than 5,000 dying with the disease.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show 5,043 people in Birmingham, the Black Country, Solihull and Worcestershire, died with the infection from the start of the pandemic to January 1, 2021.
More than 70 per cent of deaths – 3,642 – were in hospitals, while 931 – 18 per cent, were in care homes.
Birmingham had the highest number of Covid deaths in the region in 2020 with 1,785, where there was any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate. The majority were in hospitals – with 1,372. A total of 248 were in care homes, 93 were at home, 37 in hospices, 32 ‘elsewhere’ and one death in an ‘other communal setting’.
Worcestershire had 748 Covid deaths in 2020, with 406 in hospitals, 239 in care homes, 29 at home, 14 in ‘other communal settings’, seven in hospices and six ‘elsewhere’.
Of the four Black Country boroughs, Sandwell had the highest number of Covid deaths with 625. Of those the vast majority, 518, were in hospital. 62 were in care homes, 40 at home, three ‘elsewhere’ and two at hospices.
Walsall had 559 deaths with any mention of Covid on the death certificate. Of those, 410 were in hospital, 100 in care homes, 39 at home, eight in hospices and two ‘elsewhere’.
Dudley had 494 Covid deaths in 2020. Of those 369 were in hospitals, 90 at care homes, 28 at home, five in hospices, one in an ‘other communal setting’ and one ‘elsewhere’.
Wolverhampton had 440 deaths where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate. Of those 306 were in hospital, 95 in care homes, 20 at home, 12 in hospices, five in ‘other communal settings’ and two elsewhere.
Solihull has had the fewest number of Covid deaths with 392. Of those 261 were in hospitals, 97 in care homes, 20 at home, 12 in hospices and two ‘elsewhere’.
In the first week of January 2021 to January 18 a further 271 deaths were recorded in the region, with 98 in Birmingham, 63 in Worcestershire, 30 in Sandwell, 29 in Walsall, 27 in Dudley, and 12 each in Sandwell and Wolverhampton.
The total number of deaths in Birmingham and neighbouring areas, where there is any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate, now stands at 5,314.
In the wider West Midlands area the Covid death toll has reached 9,390, with those dying within 28 days of a positive test, each one a tragic life lost.
Nationally the first week of 2021 saw a big jump in deaths registered in England and Wales at 17,751. This was 7,682 more than the previous week – but put down to the Bank Holidays ‘delaying’ the dates deaths were registered.
The numbers to January 8 were 45.8 per cent higher than the five-year-average but should be ‘interpreted with caution’ the ONS said.
Of the 17,751 deaths in England and Wales, 6,057 mentioned Covid-19 – more than a third of all deaths and more than double the previous week’s 2,913.
It was the highest number of weekly deaths mentioning Covid, since April, at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.
And of those 6,057 deaths, 5,367 had Covid-19 recorded as the ‘underlying cause of death’ – which was 88.6 per cent of deaths where Covid was mentioned.
All English regions registered deaths numbers above the five-year-average for the ninth week in a row.