Coronavirus death toll in Walsall doubles in one day as region's total passes 900

The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in Walsall doubled in one day as more than 130 new deaths were confirmed in the wider region.

A total of 131 new deaths were confirmed in the Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire on Friday meaning that at least 903 people have now died in the region after testing positive for Covid-19.

The total death toll in the UK rose by 980, the highest daily increase yet, to a figure of 8,958.

Of the 131 deaths in the local region, 36 patients were confirmed to have died at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Walsall Manor Hospital, taking the total there to 73.

However the 36 Walsall patients included in Friday's figures all died between March 31 and April 8.

The figures released each day refer to the number of coronavirus-related deaths confirmed in the previous 24 hours - not died in the last 24 hours - and always include patients who died some time earlier but who were yet to be added to statistics due to testing or informing relatives.

The chart below, which shows the cumulative number of deaths at each health trust, shows how the number of deaths in each area has risen since the beginning of March.

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A further nine deaths were confirmed at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, along with seven deaths at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital.

Another 72 people were confirmed to have died across Sandwell and Birmingham – including 10 at the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General and City hospitals, and 59 at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

That means 365 patients have now died at the trust that runs Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Heartlands Hospital and Solihull Hospital.

Seven more deaths were also confirmed at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs Stafford’s County and Stoke Royal Hospital, making a total of 78.

Cumulative deaths of Covid-19 patients at Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire health trusts. The figures are organised by the day the patients died - not by the day their deaths were confirmed. The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is highest with 365 deaths. The Royal Wolverhampton (133 deaths), Sandwell and West Birmingham (126) and Dudley Group (119) NHS trusts are next, following a similar trajectory to each other. Then it's the University of North Midlands NHS Trust (78), which runs the hospitals in Stafford and Stoke, and the Walsall Healthcare trust (73), which are following similar trajectories to each other.

Meanwhile another 27 deaths were announced at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, taking the total number of deaths there to 79.

The total death toll in England rose by 886 to a total of 8,114 on Friday.

The patients were aged between 27 and 100 and of these 56 – aged between 40 and 93 – had no known underlying health conditions.

Boris Johnson update

The new figures were released as an expert said Boris Johnson is likely to feel as if he has been “hit by several buses” and will need time to recover from Covid-19.

Becoming ill enough to warrant a stay in intensive care leaves a patient “weak and exhausted” for a “significant” period of time, according to a consultant virologist.

Dr Chris Smith, from the University of Cambridge, who is also presenter of the Naked Scientists podcast, said that when the Prime Minister is fit enough to be discharged from hospital it is likely he will do so with instructions to take it easy for several weeks.

The comments came as Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley, said his son “almost took one for the team” and will need a period of rest before he can “pick up the reins” at Number 10.

The Prime Minister has returned to a ward at St Thomas’ Hospital in London after spending three nights in intensive care being treated for symptoms of the coronavirus.

Mr Johnson was again said to be in “very good spirits” after being discharged from the ICU, Downing Street has said.

A spokesman said: “The Prime Minister is back on a ward and continuing his recovery, which is at an early stage. He continues to be in very good spirits.”

A Downing Street spokesman also backed Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, saying he is confident the Housing Secretary “complied with the social distancing rules” when visiting his elderly parents in Shropshire.

Meanwhile the First Minister of Wales said he will not be bound by Westminster over when to end lockdown measures as he warned that restrictions could get worse if people flout social distancing rules.

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