Reading loses lives to Covid-19 at faster rate than neighbouring areas

The sad impact of the pandemic on our borough is shown by latest figures out from the Office for National Statistics.
ONS map of Covid-19 death rate in Reading

Reading people are losing their lives with Covid-19 at a higher rate than residents of neighbouring boroughs, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 1 May 2020.

Reading also has the highest number of deaths in care homes across Berkshire, according to other figures reported this week.

The latest ONS data and map (see above) shows 52 people dying with Covid-19 per 100,000 population in Reading between 1 March and 17 April 2020, compared with 37 per 100k in West Berkshire and 32 per 100k in Wokingham. This could be due to the fact Reading has higher levels of deprivation.

“People living in more deprived areas have experienced COVID-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas,” said Nick Stripe, head of health analysis at the ONS. “General mortality rates are normally higher in more deprived areas, but so far COVID-19 appears to be taking them higher still,” he added.

Other ONS data, shows 34 people had died in Reading care homes, the highest figure for any Berkshire local authority.

Covid-19 care home deaths across Berkshire*

Reading: 34

Windsor and Maidenhead: 27

Wokingham: 26

West Berkshire: 22

Slough: 4

Bracknell Forest: 1

*Deaths reported by care homes to the Care Quality Commission between 1 March-17 April 2020, published by Office for National Statistics, 29 April 2020

The latest care home data for the first time shows deaths disclosed directly by care homes to the Care Quality Commission as part of mandatory reporting.  Previously the ONS had only reported care home deaths based on death registrations, which can take some time while doctors officially certify deaths.

Meanwhile, separate figures published by NHS England show a slight rise in deaths reported by our local hospitals (see box).

Covid-19 hospital deaths across Berkshire*

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust: 136 
(The trust runs Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading plus community hospital services)

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: 10
(The trust runs Prospect Park Hospital and community services)

* Deaths reported by hospitals to NHS England up to 5pm, 29 April 2020 and published 30 April

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