13 more coronavirus deaths confirmed in Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire
A further 13 coronavirus patients have been confirmed to have died across the Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire.
Today's announcement means 2,404 people have now died in the region's hospitals after contracting Covid-19, while a further 552 patients have died in care homes.
Meanwhile the UK-wide death toll released by the Government, which includes deaths in and out of hospital, increased by 357 to 40,261 today although analysis suggests the true death toll is closer to 50,000.
The death toll in English hospitals increased by 123 to 27,282 today.
Five of these deaths were announced at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs Stafford's County Hospital and Royal Stoke University Hospital, taking the death toll at the trust to 313.
Three more deaths were also confirmed at the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General and City Hospitals, increasing the toll there to 358.
Two more deaths were reported at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, where 254 patients have now died.
And one more death was announced at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross and Cannock Chase hospitals, making a new death toll of 275.
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The death toll at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, the UK trust where the most Covid-19 patients have died, increased by two to 925.
The trust runs Queen Elizabeth, Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals.
No new deaths were announced at the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Walsall Manor Hospital, where 211 patients have died, or in Worcestershire where 289 patients have died in hospital.
The figures released by the NHS each day refer to the number of coronavirus-related deaths confirmed in the previous 24 hours - not who died in the last 24 hours.
Deaths are sometimes not included in the data for some time due to testing or allowing for relatives to be informed.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 552 people have died in homes across the Black Country, Birmingham and Staffordshire after catching Covid-19.
However these figures are only available for April 10 to May 29 meaning the true death toll is likely to be far higher.
Transmission rate remains below one but is close
Meanwhile the Government’s scientific advisers believe the rate of coronavirus transmission has not breached the crucial value of one, despite evidence it is very close in some regions.
They acknowledged there might be some places in England where the ‘R value’ is close to one, which if exceeded could see the virus spread exponentially.
The Government’s value remained between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK as a whole, though the figure has a two to three week lag, meaning it does not account for the latest easing of the lockdown.
And a report from Public Health England and Cambridge University, which estimates what the value is currently, said R is close to one in the North West and South West.
Across the West Midlands it is at 0.9.
The research warned that there is some evidence the value has risen in all regions, saying it was probably due to increasing mobility and mixing between households and in public and work settings.
The R value is the average number of people an infected individual passes the virus onto and crucially, if that figure exceeds one, the disease could rapidly spread throughout the population again.
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