FIFTEEN per cent of all deaths in care homes in Dudley this year were officially linked to coronavirus, figures show.

Statistics published yesterday (Tuesday May 26) by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) record 53 deaths linked to COVID-19 in care homes in the Dudley borough, out of 364 deaths that have occurred in care facilities this year.

In neighbouring Sandwell 37 out of 327 deaths this year have been linked to coronavirus in care homes - 11 per cent - according to the figures which list all deaths that occurred up until May 15 but were registered up until May 23.

In total the ONS figures link 579 deaths in Dudley and Sandwell to coronavirus - the vast majority of which have occurred in hospitals. They show 198 patients have died in Russells Hall Hospital with the virus, while 260 have died in hospital in Sandwell - a total of 458.

Twenty two people in Dudley and Sandwell have died at home with the virus (11 in Dudley and 11 in Sandwell) and three hospice patients in Dudley died with the virus - and two in Sandwell. Four people are also reported to have died 'elsewhere' with the virus.

The figures published by the ONS differ to and lag behind those published daily by NHS England which only refer to hospital deaths related to COVID-19.

Latest figures from NHS England state 583 people have now died due to the virus in Dudley and Sandwell hospitals - 246 in Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, and 337 in hospitals run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.