Covid-19 infection rate 40% above average in North’s most deprived areas

Five healthcare workers among 764 coronavirus fatalities, statistics agency reports

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency reported five coronavirus-linked deaths among healthcare or care-related workers between March 1st and May 31st. File photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency reported five coronavirus-linked deaths among healthcare or care-related workers between March 1st and May 31st. File photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

 

The Covid-19 death, infection and hospital admission rates are higher among those living in the most deprived areas, new reports from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) and the North’s Department of Health have shown.

Nisra on Wednesday reported that there were 764 coronavirus deaths in Northern Ireland in the period from the start of March to the end of May. It also reported that of the 764 deaths five were of health or care workers.

In the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland the death rate was 60.5 per 100,000 of the population and this compared with a general rate of 48.2 deaths per 100,000 and a rate of 49.1 for the least deprived areas.

In a separate report the North’s health department found that the admission rate for confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (581 admissions per 100,000 population) was almost double the rate in the 10 per cent least deprived areas (317 admissions per 100,000 population).

“While deprivation was found to be an important factor of the likelihood of admission, age was found to have a greater impact,” it added.

The department said that the infection rate in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (379 cases per 100,000 population) was one-fifth higher than the rate in the 10 per cent least deprived areas (317 cases per 100,000 population) and two-fifths higher than the Northern Ireland average (272 cases per 100,000 population).

The infection rate among females (308 cases per 100,000 population) was one-third higher than males (234 cases per 100,000 population).

Of those testing positive for the virus, more than one-quarter (27 per cent) were admitted to hospital for treatment, with males (39 per cent) being twice as likely to be admitted as females (19 per cent), and those in the most deprived areas were 37 per cent more likely to be admitted than those in the least deprived areas.

Nisra in its report said that of the 764 deaths from March 1st to May 31st, 86 were of those in the 20-69 working age population. And of these 86, five were health or care workers.

Nisra added that the 764 deaths accounted for 17.2 per cent of all deaths in Northern Ireland.

The death rate among men was “significantly higher” than the rate among women. Nisra said that the age-standardised mortality rates for men were 60.4 deaths per 100,000 while the rate for women was 40.4.

Most of the deaths – 678 – were in the 69 plus age group. The youngest person to die from coronavirus was in the 30-34 age group.

One further death

Meanwhile, the Department of Health reported one more coronavirus death in Northern Ireland in its daily bulletin issued on Wednesday afternoon, taking its total number of deaths to 543. Most of its recorded deaths relate to hospital fatalities whereas the Nisra figures include hospital, care home, hospice and deaths at residential addresses.

Eight more people were reported as having tested positive for Covid-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,862. So far 67,714 people have been tested for the virus in the North.

In compiling its latest report Nisra used age-standardised mortality rates, “adjusted” rates that take into account underlying differences in population. It said that such “standardisation” was important as differences in population structure between regions can strongly affect the numbers of deaths. For example, an area with an older population will have higher numbers of deaths.

Nisra explained: “Age standardised mortality rates therefore allow for differences in the age structure of populations and allow valid comparisons to be made between geographical areas, the sexes and over time.”