COVID-19 update - 1 May 2020

This bulletin provides important information for people working in health and care across the North East and North Cumbria regarding guidance and actions being co-ordinated across our region to care for patients, staff and our communities in the light of COVID-19. This is a fast-moving and evolving situation. We will do our best to keep you updated with the latest information and key decisions from the Strategic Health Command Group. This group is led by Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. If you have any questions or would like us to send vital information to partners through this bulletin, please contact us here.
Message from Alan Foster
Alan Foster
Yesterday evening again gave us an opportunity to show our appreciation for our amazing health and care workers for their ongoing hard work as they treat people with COVID-19. There were more fantastic pictures of landmarks across the region lit-up in blue and I’m sure like me, you will all have felt a great sense of pride to be part of our NHS and social care family.

As you will be aware testing for COVID-19 has been significantly ramped up over the last few weeks. Last week the government announced access to testing for more groups of key workers and yesterday to anyone over 65 with symptoms.

Testing is available to people in the North East and North Cumbria at a range of locations and a testing process has been agreed by health, care, and other organisations in the North East and North Cumbria as a way to ensure that staff and the people they care for are offered the best advice and support. There is a detailed briefing which is available to view here.

You will have seen or heard on the news this week information about new approaches to cancer care to ensure patients get the treatment they need during the pandemic and specifically the establishment of ‘cancer hubs’.

Cancer hubs bring together provider teams (including cancer clinical experts and senior managers) to make decisions on the allocation of theatre space and resources to ensure equity of treatment between disease groups and based on clinical need.

NHS England (NHSE) have asked Cancer Alliances to lead and support the work on organising and managing cancer hubs. The Northern Cancer Alliance has worked with a range of key stakeholders from across the healthcare system in the North East and North Cumbria to establish a cancer hub model that will be managed from two locations, one in the south and one in the north of the region. Both locations will be responsible for coordinating cancer treatment across our region during the pandemic if needed. This will result in cancer patients receiving their treatment at a safe, COVID-free location that is closest to their home.

For further information relating to the development of the cancer hub or cancer services during the COVID-19 pandemic please email

I would again like to thank everyone for all your efforts this week. I know many of you will be working over the weekend and continuing to provide our communities with the very best care. As always, this is much appreciated. For those of you who are not working, I hope you get some time to relax.

Keep up the great work everyone.

Many thanks,


Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
NHS England/Improvement statement on Coronavirus (Covid-19) on 1 May 2020
A further 352 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 20,483.

Patients were aged between 30 and 103 years old. 18 of the 352 patients (aged between 43 and 98 years old) had no known underlying health condition.

Their families have been informed.

The number of deaths of patients with Covid-19 by region are as follows:

East of England 35
London 71
Midlands 54
North East & Yorkshire 54
North West 57
South East 62
South West 19

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish the number of patients who have died in hospital and tested positive for COVID-19 in England. From Tuesday 28 April, NHS England and NHS Improvement also reports the number of patient deaths where there has been no COVID-19 positive test result, but where COVID-19 is documented as a direct or underlying cause of death on part 1 or part 2 of the death certification process. This change has been introduced for deaths that occurred on 24 April and subsequently.

This means the NHS England and NHS Improvement data collection provides information on all COVID related (suspected and confirmed) deaths in England hospitals.

Today, 21 deaths are reported with no positive COVID-19 test result.

Additional data, including listings by Trust and date of death is available on the NHS England website and can be accessed here.