Seven deaths with Covid-19 at Wigan's hospital trust
The fatalities in the last few days serve as a stark reminder of the threat the coronavirus poses.
A period of three months with no fatalities involving Covid-19 at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust came to an end at the start of this month, latest NHS England data shows.
Fears had been expressed, based on the experiences of countries such as France and Spain, that rising case rates would eventually mean increasing hospitalisations and deaths.
And after several weeks in which infections in the borough have escalated dramatically to more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents, that sadly now appears to be the case here.
The data shows one person died with Covid-19 in a WWL hospital on October 2.
There were then three deaths involving the coronavirus on October 3, one on October 4 and two on October 5.
Prior to the October 2 death the last time someone had lost their life in a WWL hospital while suffering from Covid-19 had been on July 2.
The recent fatalities, which bring the total number of hospital deaths at WWL involving the coronavirus to 260, apppear to lend further weight to the comment given by Wigan Council’s director of public health Professor Kate Ardern this week that “there is no room for complacency” in tackling Covid-19.
Prof Ardern did say that hospitalisations in Wigan with the novel coronavirus remained lower than in other parts of Greater Manchester.
She said it was vital that residents continue to strictly follow all the rules and regulations about social distancing, wearing face coverings in public places and observing good hand hygiene.
She also spoke of Wigan’s experience in spring, when case numbers were brought lower than in other areas of Greater Manchester following a peak in mid-April, suggesting this could give grounds for optimism.
The flipside of that, though, was hammered home by figures released by the Labour Party yesterday.
The statistics looked at 20 areas which had been under restrictions for two months or more, and Wigan had the biggest jump in cases per 100,000 residents of any of them.
When measures were brought in on July 30 Wigan’s case rate was just six, but that has now climbed to 225, a shocking increase of 3,653 per cent.
The largest increases were in boroughs such as Wigan where case numbers were very low when the measures were brought in.
The Greater Manchester press conference yesterday gave a figure for Wigan of 239.5 cases per 100,000 residents for the seven days up to October 3.
Prof Ardern also suggested this week that the borough’s community spirit, which was prominently on display during the first wave of Covid-19 in Wigan, meant things could once again be turned around.
The Government’s coronavirus data dashboard shows in recent times the largest numbers of cases detected have been in the western part of the borough.
Between September 26 and October 2 there were 47 cases in Pemberton South, 45 cases in Winstanley and 31 in Orrell and Longshaw.
These figures are for Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs), which divide the country into areas with roughly the same size populations.
The three MSOAs with the biggest case numbers are right next to each other.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has suggested that high numbers of autumn cases are being seen in more affluent areas.