MORE than 40 per cent of all deaths in the Wordsley area over the last three months were linked to COVID-19, figures have revealed.

Detailed statistics published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal how many coronavirus related deaths have occurred in different parts of the Dudley borough.

The Wordsley and Buckpool area has suffered 19 deaths where COVID-19 was a factor over the three months from March 1 to May 31 and the figures show 42 per cent of all deaths during that time were linked to the virus.

Other areas in the south of the borough that have been worst hit by the pandemic are: Kingswinford South, Wall Heath and Netherton.

In Kingswinford South 13 people have died from the virus and more than a quarter (26.5 per cent) of all deaths over the three months were linked to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Wall Heath and Netherton have each recorded ten coronavirus deaths in March, April and May.

In Wall Heath nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of all deaths were linked to the virus and in Netherton around one in five deaths (21.7 per cent) were due to COVID-19.

The Lye and Wynall area of the borough recorded nine coronavirus deaths and 37.5 per cent of all deaths in the three-month period were linked to the virus.

Wollaston, Quarry Bank and Withymoor Village recorded the fewest coronavirus deaths during the three months. One death linked to the virus was recorded in Wollaston in March, another was recorded for Withymoor in March and Quarry Bank recorded one death in April.

Wollaston councillor Nic Barlow, Dudley Council's cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “I've no doubt there are a number of factors to consider when looking at these numbers, including age, ethnicity, concentration of care homes in a particular area, size of establishments, number of discharges from hospital to a home, and underlying long-term health conditions of the individual."

He said access to timely and reliable data was "critical to understanding the situation and making decisions" and he added: "Our public health intelligence analysts have played a pivotal role in ensuring we have the right data at the right time both to react promptly to new challenges and to plan sensibly and proactively.

"The Public Health Division at Dudley Council has worked extensively to provide leadership, training and support within the council and externally, including care providers, schools, and our NHS partners. Huge amounts of guidance have been generated and an incredible amount of PPE has been issued.

"Public Health formed a team of redeployed staff to contact residents in the community who, due to serious underlying health conditions, were advised to stay at home during the pandemic and avoid any face-to-face contact.

"Proactive screening of care homes in the borough has been a priority. Testing of NHS, council and care home staff for COVID-19 became available in May and with the support of intu Merry Hill we have been co-ordinating the deployment of an Army Mobile Testing Unit to test key workers including council staff at The Waterfront.  

"It has been a cross-council approach dealing with COVID-19. I am incredibly proud of my Public Health and adult social care teams who are working incredibly hard, seven days a week, round the clock, managing the situation."

The Dudley borough's official COVID-19 death toll, according the ONS's latest weekly figures, now stands at 292.

The majority of deaths occurred at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley where 213 people who had tested positive for the virus passed away between the middle of March and June 5.

Meanwhile - 63 care home deaths have been reported in the borough and 12 people have died from the virus at home. Three hospice patients also died with the virus and a further death was listed by the ONS as having occurred elsewhere in the community.