CORONAVIRUS hit Bromsgrove harder than any other part of Worcestershire during the initial few weeks of the pandemic, new figures have revealed.
Data released by the Office of National Statistics – broken down by the local authority area the deceased lived in – shows that 17 people from Bromsgrove died with the killer virus before April 3.
No other local authority in Worcestershire had more Covid-19 related deaths during that period – although the Wyre Forest also recorded 17 deaths.
Of the county’s other four authorities, Wychavon registered 11 deaths where coronavirus was a contributing factor, Redditch five, Worcester five and Malvern Hills three.
The statistics also show that people in both Bromsgrove and the wider county were dying with the virus earlier than previously known.
It was March 23 when Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust provided its first statement that a patient had died with coronavirus at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital.
However, the ONS figures show that a Bromsgrove resident died in hospital the week prior to that announcement.
Peter Pinfield, the chairman of Healthwatch – the body that represents patients in Worcestershire – said the time lag in the data was cause for concern.
“People have relatives, carers, we all have been impacted by this. At the very least the government should be honest and upfront,” he said.
“Until now I don’t think we have been getting the true picture, you need to get down to the detail.
“We at Healthwatch have been watching with alarm the steady increase in the hospital numbers.
“If we hadn’t stopped at home, I shudder to think what the numbers would have been now.”
Of the 17 Bromsgrove deaths that occurred before April 3, two people died in care homes, 13 in hospital, none at home or in a hospice and two classed as ‘elsewhere’.
The majority of hospital deaths will have occurred outside of Bromsgrove, with patients transferred elsewhere for treatment.
The Bromsgrove and Redditch Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed to the Advertiser that, as of this week, only four deaths had been recorded at the town’s Princess of Wales Community Hospitall.
As of yesterday (April 21), there had been 165 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in Worcestershire as a whole and 887 confirmed cases.
The national death toll from the virus has exceeded 16,500 people.