Members of Walsall’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board heard how, as of January 17, the total number of deaths either directly due to coronavirus or where it was a contributing factor stood at 564.
This was a rise of 43 from the previous Sunday. The total number of confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began has also gone past the 16,000 mark this month.
At Tuesday’s Claire Heath, senior public health intelligence officer, said the daily case numbers had started to decline.
In the seven-day period up to January 15, there had been 290 new cases giving a case rate of 732 per 100,000 population – far less than what was being experienced earlier in the month where more than 2,000 cases were confirmed in a week.
She did, however, warn that hospital admissions were also on the increase with an average of 25 admissions per day in the last seven day period.
Stephen Gunther, Walsall director of public health, said the new variant, which is more transmissible than the first one, was resulting in the increase.
He said: “There are two sobering points – we’ve had over 16,000 cases detective since the start of Covid and more than 500 deaths.
“People, families and their communities will be affected by this for the long term.
“We’ve had a new variant, where we’ve seen a rapid increase. We’ve got around 70 to 80 per cent of the new variant and this is much more transmissible than the previous one, albeit its virulence is similar.
“We are seeing that working age population as the largest cohort – 30 to early 40 year-olds coming back positive and we are seeing outbreaks in care homes.
“We are re-engaging about infection prevention control measures because of the increased transmissibility of the virus.”