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28/10/2021

Derry council area has recorded 24 Covid-19 deaths in October

Yesterday the youngest person died in Derry City and Strabane since the start of the pandemic

altnagelvin

The attack took place at Altnagelvin Hospital.

The Derry council area has recorded 24 Covid-19 deaths in the month of October with the youngest of those tragic fatalities occurring this week.

According to official Department of Health (DoH) statistics the young male was aged between 0-19.

The vast majority of local deaths until that point have been amongst the over 80 age group but there are exceptions with others aged between 40-59 and 60-79.

Since Saturday, in Derry City and Strabane alone there have been nine Covid related deaths.

More than half of the local death toll (45) has occurred in a single month after there was a huge spike in positive cases.

In total, the council area has 5,262 cases since the start of the pandemic – over 4,000 of those were registered in the past month.

Because of a lag from positive cases to hospitalisations to deaths the full devastating impact of the local surge is only now coming to light.

Derry City and Strabane recorded 106 new Covid cases today which was up from 64 on Tuesday.

The rate of infection in the past seven days, per 100k of population, stands at 459.9.

The Western Trust says that, as of today, Altnagelvin Hospital had 69 Covid positive patients and nine of them were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  Another non-Covid patient is in ICU.

There are as standard, ten Critical Care beds in Altnagelvin ICU.

However, as part of a robust Critical Care Surge plan, beds are increased in line with need.

Altnagelvin Hospital moved into ‘Low Critical Care Surge’ at nine patients, with 12 Critical Care beds available as of Monday, October 26.

A Western Trust spokesperson added: “As numbers requiring Critical Care beds increase, the Western Trust increases capacity as per our Critical Care surge plan as follows:

“Medium Critical Care Surge will have an increase to 15 Critical Care beds.

“High Critical Care Surge will have an increase to 18 Critical Care beds.

“It is important to note that critical care beds are managed by CCaNNi, the regional Critical Care Network, and capacity in the system is reviewed regularly as required.”

The Derry hospital is now running five per cent over capacity.

Tougher lockdown rules came into force in Derry and Strabane on October 5. 

Two days before those restrictions were introduced the council area recorded 201 new Covid cases in the space of 24-hours.

Over the two weeks of lockdown that number has halved.

‘BATTLE’

Although new cases have halved since lockdown, local doctor Tom Black warned that there could be ‘many more surges’ if people drop their guard.

Tom Black, chair of BMA’s Northern Ireland council, said: “While it is positive that Covid cases in Derry and Strabane District Council area are moving in the right direction, Altnagelvin Hospital is under severe strain at the moment with rising Covid inpatient numbers, particularly in ICU.  “Unfortunately the hospital will continue to see the effects of the recent Covid spike in the region for a further few weeks.

“Our health service staff in both Altnagelvin and primary care in Derry and Strabane council area will continue to do their utmost to battle this pandemic while they also treat non-Covid illnesses and cope with large numbers of colleagues off isolating or ill.”  

He continued: “Dropping Covid cases in the region does not mean the virus is going away and we should relax.  Far from it. 

“Infection rates in Derry and Strabane may have roughly halved after three weeks of lockdown but we still have the second highest infection rate in Ireland. 

“This second surge has hit us harder than the first one and will be the second of many more surges if we allow complacency to creep in again. 

“We must do all we can to adhere to social distancing guidelines for the sake of our loved ones in Altnagelvin and our health service staff who are nearing breaking point.”

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