Excess deaths are a measure of how many more people are dying than would be expected when compared to previous years and can be used to show the overall impact of the pandemic.
Figures presented to a meeting of North Yorkshire’s Outbreak Management Advisory Board today showed 11,347 deaths from all causes were expected during the weeks of the pandemic based on the five-year average.
A total of 11,906 deaths from all causes were recorded up to October 1 – giving an excess of 559.
Dr Victoria Turner, public health consultant at North Yorkshire County Council, told a meeting that these figures were “largely reflective of the national position”.
She said: “The largest peaks of excess deaths, unsurprisingly, were during Covid’s first and second wave.
“This was followed by periods where deaths were actually a bit below the expected number, however, those periods were not enough to offset the very high numbers of excess deaths that we saw during both wave one and two.”
According to Public Health England figures, there have been a total of 1,227 deaths in North Yorkshire where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
The recent rate of Covid deaths and hospital admissions has increased slightly since the end of summer, however, the figures are lower than previous waves.
Despite this, Sue Peckitt, chief nurse at NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said the heath service was still facing “unprecedented” demand with 171 Covid patients currently in the county’s hospitals.
She told the meeting that the majority of these patients were over-65 and that 20 were in intensive care.
Mrs Peckitt said: “We continue to see high demand into our primary and emergency care departments. Whilst we are seeing high numbers of Covid infections in our younger population, it is the older population that is presenting into hospital.”
Mrs Peckitt also said the vaccine rollout was continuing with a focus on booster jabs for over 50s and increasing uptake for 12 to 15-year-olds who will be offered their single dose by the end of November.
She said: “The schools programme for 12 to 15-year-olds is now rolling out through our provider Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, but we have also opened up three sites on the national booking system.
“These are the pharmacy site at Knaresborough, the Askham Bar site at York and the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.”
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