Coleraine has suffered the highest number of Covid-19 related deaths in County Derry, figures from statistics agency NISRA have shown.
The figures relate to deaths mentioning Covid-19 on the death certificate, registered up to May 29, 2020, with the postcodes relating to the usual area of residence of the deceased.
The BT52 area, that covers Coleraine, Cloyfin and Ballyvelton, topped the list of County Derry towns with sixteen deaths.
Limavady and Ballykelly postal area, BT49, registered the next highest number of deaths, with twelve Covid-19-related deaths.
The Magherafelt district of BT45 and BT51, which covers the rural north east of the county, both registered eight deaths within the same period.
Only one death was recorded in the BT55 area, which covers Portstewart.
Across Northern Ireland, there have been more Covid-19 related deaths in areas with higher levels of social deprivation, and County Derry follows this trend.
Three areas in the county feature in a list of the 100 most-deprived Super Output Areas (SOAs) compiled by NISRA in 2018.
Two are in Limavady, with the third in Coleraine, the two areas affected most by Covid-19-related deaths in County Derry.
Dr John Moriarty, from Queen’s University’s Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, said ‘underlying health conditions’ may be a factor in higher death rates for deprived areas.
“The most obvious explanation for the higher deaths from Covid-19 in deprived areas is the level of underlying ill-health which existed in those areas prior to the pandemic,” he said.
“The geographical distribution of Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland is further evidence that the burden of this infection is falling disproportionately on those most deprived.
“Figures released previously suggested that the virus itself may have been widespread in both the most deprived and most affluent areas.
“This may have been linked to more international travel undertaken earlier in the year for both business and pleasure by those in wealthier areas.
“Alternatively, it may have been because of greater awareness of the need to be tested.
“However, what is clear is that infection in well-off areas isn't causing as many people to go to hospital or to die.”
Derry City has two SOAs in the top 100 most deprived areas, with its postal areas of BT47 and BT48 accounting for 20 Covid-19-related deaths.
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