Covid’s ‘grim human toll’ revealed as figures show 1,771 more Northamptonshire than usual people sadly died during pandemic

ONS figures show ‘excess deaths’ in county compared to five-year average
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Nearly 2,000 more people sadly died in Northamptonshire during the coronavirus pandemic than would be expected in normal years, according to new Office for National Statistics data.

The ONS figures revealed 1,771 more deaths than the five-year average in the county between March 2020 and June 2022.

Covid deaths in Northamptonshire peaked during the early days of the pandemic as hospitals were inundated with patients during April 2020Covid deaths in Northamptonshire peaked during the early days of the pandemic as hospitals were inundated with patients during April 2020
Covid deaths in Northamptonshire peaked during the early days of the pandemic as hospitals were inundated with patients during April 2020

The 932 extra deaths above the average was was 12.9 percent more than expected — higher than the 10.9 percent in West Northamptonshire and 11.1 percent across England and Wales.

Across the two nations, 137,447 more deaths were registered over the 28-month period than compared with previous years – 64 percent of whom were men.

The county’s figures are around 20 percent lower than those who died in hospitals while being treated for Covid and ONS data regarding care homes.

Latest NHS England figures published on Wednesday (September 14) revealed 999 Covid patients died in Northampton General Hospital since the pandemic began and 773 in Kettering General Hospital. A further 345 have died in the county’s care homes.

According to the Government’s Covid data website, there have been 271,531 positive tests in the county since March 2020.

Health charity and think tank, The King's Fund, said the figures showed the pandemic’s “grim human toll” and warned excess deaths could climb again this winter.

And it called on the Government to take action before an “unpredictable” winter as the combined effects of Covid-19 and flu are seen for the first time.

Dr Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at The King's Fund, warned: “NHS services were already stretched prior to the pandemic and are now facing unprecedented pressures with a backlog of almost 7,000,000 people waiting for planned care, plus long delays in emergency services that could cause harm or be life-threatening.

“If the Government wants to forestall the risk of excess deaths climbing again, ministers must take steps now to ensure good uptake of the Covid-19 and flu vaccines, and that the NHS has the workforce and resources to cope with winter pressures.”

Excess deaths nationally peaked in April 2020 and January 2021, which were also the months which had the highest number of deaths due to coronavirus.

In West Northamptonshire, April 2020 was the month with the highest excess deaths when they were 87.6 percent above normal.

In the North, they were 97.3 percent above expected figures.

The rollout of autumn booster jabs opened earlier this month in the latest phase of Northamptonshire’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

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A national booking system is offering appointments at up to 50 sites across the county to those contacted by the NHS when it is their turn to book in for the vaccine.

As with previous campaigns, the oldest and most vulnerable will be called forward first.

Chris Pallot, director of the county programme, said: “Covid-19 may not be at the forefront of everyone’s mind – we understand this – but we expect cases to rise again in the autumn and into the winter so it really is vital that those eligible, the most vulnerable groups in our communities, get vaccinated when it is their turn to do so and get an autumn booster.”