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New reporting process sees 445 extra Covid-19 deaths added to UK total

UK News | Published:

The new cumulative total includes cases identified under Pillar 2 of the Government’s testing strategy.

An additional 445 people who died with Covid-19 have been added to the UK total following the introduction of a new reporting process.

The new cumulative total of 39,045 deaths, announced on June 1, now includes cases identified under “Pillar 2” of the Government’s testing strategy.

Here, the PA news agency explains how it works.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

The additional deaths are linked to cases identified through testing carried out by commercial partners, rather than testing that has been done in NHS and Public Health England (PHE) laboratories.

These tests would have been undertaken in care homes or in the community, rather than in a hospital setting, and are available for the wider population, as opposed to just key workers.

– Who were the additional 445 deaths?

Public Health England (PHE) said “nearly all” of the 445 deaths, which date back to April 26, were care home residents.

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The deaths were previously categorised as “probable” coronavirus cases, but have now been redefined as “confirmed” cases, PHE said.

They occurred over a month-long period and do not represent a new “surge” in the number of deaths, PHE added.

Instead, the 445 deaths were added to the historic data retrospectively.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

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PHE said collating data from across the various sources is “technically difficult and challenging”, adding it is not possible to get daily death counts from every care home and residence in the country.

It said the data quality from Pillar 2 testing had improved sufficiently to allow it to trace individual deaths and integrate them into routine reporting.

– How does PHE record the number of deaths?

The number of people who have died with coronavirus is reported daily by the Government using PHE data.

PHE combines data from four different sources: Deaths occurring in hospitals, deaths notified to PHE health protection teams, laboratory test reports linked to deaths from electronic hospital records and
Office for National Statistics (ONS) death registrations which can be linked to laboratory-confirmed positive tests.

The data, which goes back to March 2, does not include deaths in people where Covid-19 was suspected, but a laboratory test was not carried out.

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