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52 Coronavirus deaths in Derry and Strabane in 42 days

Derry doctor is ‘concerned’ about a rise in local cases ahead of lockdown restrictions easing tomorrow

altnagelvin

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has proven devastating for local families as figures show that 52 people have died in just six weeks.

From March until the end of May there were 21 Covid-related deaths in Derry and Strabane.

The second wave of coronavirus claimed the life of a woman over 80 years of age in the council area on October 7, according to Department of Health (DoH) figures.

Since then a further 51 deaths have been recorded – the latest occurring on Tuesday - bringing the local death toll to 73.

No deaths occurred from June through to September in the local area, based on DoH reports which focus mainly on hospital deaths where the deceased had a positive test for Covid-19 and died within 28 days.

Yesterday, eleven more Coronavirus deaths were announced in Northern Ireland.

In Derry City and Strabane 67 new cases were confirmed in the past 24-hours.

Altnagelvin Hospital currently has 53 Covid-19 inpatients, two of whom are in intensive care.

Those numbers are both improvements on recent weeks when they sat over 60 and around 10 respectively.

Local lockdown measures were introduced in the council area on October 5.

This is the seventh week of tightened restrictions in Derry after a country-wide lockdown was imposed on October 16.

Daily cases dropped to a low of around 30 in that time but in recent days appear to be on the rise again.

The British Medical Association’s (BMA) Northern Ireland Council chair and Derry GP Tom Black is ‘concerned’ by that development.

He said: “As we can see from today’s figures, infection levels are on the rise again in the Derry and Strabane District Council area - the second highest positive case growth in the country in the past 24 hours.

“This is concerning. 

“GP practices continue to be exceptionally busy not only in this region but elsewhere, and all hospitals are operating at or above capacity. 

“It is against this backdrop that lockdown restrictions will begin to be eased from the end of this week, in spite of advice from scientists, clinicians and the Health Minister to the contrary.” 

He added: “This is unacceptable and unfair on all frontline health service staff who continue to do their utmost to care for our sick and vulnerable with escalating workforce pressures and increasing levels of exhaustion and burn out that will only get worse as winter sets in.

“The public must remember that the easing of lockdown does not mean life is getting back to normal, far from it.

“It is far from normal for health service staff and for their patients. It is vitally important now that the public continue to play their part and take all the precautions they can.

“That means socially distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands regularly.”

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