THE HOSPITAL trust serving Solihull has become the first in the country to record more than a thousand coronavirus deaths.
The grim milestone comes as councils in the Birmingham and Solihull area record accelerating rates of Covid transmission.
Following a week with eight coronavirus deaths in the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, the combined number of deaths stands at 1,001 (September 27).
The trust is one of the largest in the UK, treating over two million people annually.
But passing the thousandth victim point will compound fears that infection rates in Birmingham and Solihull are becoming hard to control.
The figures make UHB NHS Foundation Trust the first to record more than 1000 deaths, with the second highest East London’s St Bart’s Health NHS Trust at 635 deaths in total.
Speaking on Friday (September 25), Clive Wright, West Midlands convener for the Department of Health, said: “We are at a pivotal point in what is a rapid increase in the spread of coronavirus.
“As we know, the government has announced new measures in response to increased levels of transmission this week.
“The area in the West Midlands with the highest infection rate is Birmingham which has reached over 100 per 100,000.
“Solihull remains in intervention within the framework.
“All councils are working tirelessly to deal with the virus, and there are great examples of advice and support offered to businesses and communities in Solihull.
“This week’s rates across the West Midlands per 100,000 stands at 47.2 in Coventry, up from 34.6.
“Solihull’s rate has gone down slightly from 69.8 to 67.9, and in Warwickshire the rate of infection has risen 21 to 24.
“Some of this can be explained by increased testing, but it is clear the disease is spreading more rapidly.
Across England, the total of deaths stands at 29.908, with 41,988 victims of the pandemic counted to September 28.
On Sunday, the country recorded 5,693 new cases.
An estimate from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released on September 25, suggested that roughly one in 500 people in England had coronavirus in the week ending September 19. This is up from one in 900 reported the previous week.
A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham said: “It is with great sadness that we have reported more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 related deaths within our Trust since 14 March 2020. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of those who have suffered losses. We are also acutely aware that the toll has impacted our own staff across the four hospital sites and we continue to offer them appropriate support during the ongoing challenge of the pandemic.
“Whilst it does not mitigate the terrible reality of the number of deaths within UHB, we must also take some comfort in the fact that we have discharged almost 3,000 inpatients who had tested positive for COVID-19 and we wish them well in their ongoing recovery and follow-up treatment.”