Fifteen people in Wigan died with Covid-19 over the festive period
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While the UK is long past the height of the pandemic and measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have been lifted, it is a stark reminder that the virus has not gone away.
A total of 1,428 people had died in the area when the UK coronavirus dashboard was updated on Thursday, January 5 – up from 1,413 on December 21.
They were among 27,977 deaths recorded across the North West.
The figures include anyone who died within 28 days of a positive test result for Covid-19 and whose usual residence was in Wigan.
A total of 177,037 deaths were recorded throughout England by January 5 – up from 175,007 a fortnight ago.
There was no update to the coronavirus dashboard on December 29, but the figures do show deaths are rising, from six recorded in the week up to December 22 and four in the week before.
Data from NHS England shows Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the borough’s hospitals, was caring for just one coronavirus patient as of Tuesday, January 4.
That was in line with the same day the previous week and down from three beds occupied by Covid-19 patients four weeks ago.
Across England there were 9,332 people in hospital with coronavirus as of January 4, with 212 of them in mechanical ventilation beds.
The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally has increased by 70 per cent in the last four weeks, while the number on mechanical ventilators has increased by 78 per cent.
The figures also show five new Covid-19 patients were admitted to Wigan’s hospitals in the week to January 2, up from one in the previous seven days.
Meanwhile, flu admissions nationally stood at 8.3 per 100,000 people in the week to January 1, down from 14.8 the previous week which was the highest level in at least a decade, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
But health experts said the numbers should be treated with caution as they are likely to have been affected by fewer hospitals reporting data over the festive period, along with reduced social contact due to schools and workplaces being closed.
NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said that while the health service had delivered almost 20m flu jabs to around four in five over-65s, “unfortunately flu admissions continue to be very high”.
UKHSA chief executive Dame Jenny Harries said there had been a “dramatic increase” in the number of flu admissions before Christmas, but they have started to fall in recent days.
“I urge all those eligible to come forward for their free flu vaccination, which is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness,” she said.
“Uptake of the flu vaccine is particularly low in children aged two and three, so if your child is eligible, please urgently take up the offer.
“Covid-19 also continues to circulate at high levels and anyone eligible for a booster who has yet to take it up should come forward.”