Coronavirus: Black Country and Birmingham death toll leaps by 44 per cent
The coronavirus death toll in the Black Country and Birmingham has jumped by 44 per cent in one day to a total of 470.
One in three of the 637 more patients confirmed to have died in England on Saturday died in the Midlands, with 101 of these being in the care of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
The trust, which runs four hospitals in Birmingham including Queen Elizabeth, has now had 203 patients die after testing positive for Covid-19 which is more than any other health trust in the country.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital has a major trauma centre and treats patients from across the region with serious health conditions meaning its death toll is always likely to be higher than others in the Midlands.
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has had the fifth most deaths, with 92, with the trusts in second, third and fourth place all in London.
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The Midlands' 212 deaths confirmed on Saturday was far more than London where 127 were confirmed.
A total of 144 deaths were confirmed in the Black Country and Birmingham including 15 in Walsall, 13 in Dudley, 11 in Wolverhampton and three in Sandwell and West Birmingham.
It means 470 people have now died after contracting coronavirus in the region.
At the daily Government briefing on Saturday Michael Gove said work to turn the NEC into a Nightingale Hospital was set to be accelerated due to how severe the crisis is in the region.
Meanwhile nine more deaths were confirmed in Staffordshire, bringing the total in the county to 41, and seven more deaths were confirmed in Worcestershire where the death toll now stands at 42.
Across the UK 708 more Covid-19 patients were confirmed to have died, including a five-year-old girl, as the national death toll hit 4,313.
And Department of Health figures showed that the number of new people tested daily in the UK has slipped back below 10,000. A total of 9,406 new people were reported as being tested in the 24 hours to 9am April 4.
For the previous two days, the equivalent figure was above 10,000. The total number of people in the UK tested since the outbreak began is now 183,190. The number of confirmed cases had reached 41,903 as of 9am on Saturday.
The news came as tributes were paid to two Wolverhampton bishops who died within 24 hours of each other this week.
Bishop Theophilus Augustus McCalla MBE and Bishop Horatio Fearon were both in their 80s and had long-term health problems before catching Covid-19.
Meanwhile Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, warned the coronavirus infection rate will remain high for “weeks and weeks” if people flout social distancing rules this weekend.
Prof Ferguson said earlier that while the epidemic was expected to plateau in the next week to 10 days, people’s behaviour was critical to determining what happens next.