Coronavirus: Fears death rate could be higher in Harrogate

Coronavirus: Fears death rate could be higher in Harrogate

Published by May Norman at 5:53am 24th April 2020.

Katie Williams, Data Reporter

Seven coronavirus-related deaths in Harrogate not captured in official data

  • There are concerns the number of coronavirus deaths in Harrogate could be higher.
  • The main government figures have so far been based almost entirely on the deaths of hospital patients who tested positive for the virus.
  • Office for National statistics data claims seven deaths have occurred in care homes - but these are not captured in official information.

At least seven deaths linked to coronavirus in Harrogate may not be captured in official estimates, new figures suggest.

Shadow social care minister Liz Kendall has called on the Government to publish daily figures of Covid-19 deaths outside hospital settings, including in care homes, to understand "the true scale of the problem."

Office for National statistics data shows that in Harrogate, 23 deaths involving Covid-19 were provisionally registered up to April 10.

Of those, seven occurred in care homes.

Elderly care

ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.

The main government figures however have so far been based almost entirely on the deaths of hospital patients who tested positive for the virus.

This means at least seven Covid-19-related deaths in Harrogate would have been excluded from official estimates up to April 10 – equating to 30 per cent of the total figure from the ONS.

Testing from RADAR

The number of people who died of coronavirus in Harrogate's hospitals up to April 10 was 16, according to the ONS.

Across England and Wales, there were 1,662 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the week up to April 10 which occurred outside hospitals, and 8,673 (84 per cent) in hospitals.

The overall number of deaths in care home across the two countries doubled from 2,471 to 4,974, between the point the first Covid-19 deaths were registered and the week ending April 10.

Liz Kendall MP, Labour's shadow minister for social care, commenting on the rise, said:

"This shows the terrible toll that coronavirus is having on elderly and disabled people in care homes.

"Yet these awful figures are only scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care, because they are already out of date.

"The Government must publish daily figures of Covid-19 deaths outside hospital, including in care homes, so we know the true scale of the problem.

"This is essential to tackling the spread of the virus, ensuring social care has the resources it needs and getting vital PPE and testing to care workers on the frontline."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to address the coronavirus pandemic's impact on care homes as England's chief medical officer admitted there would likely be a "high mortality rate" in the facilities during the coronavirus crisis.