COVID-19 update - 15 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
There was huge support for our health, care and other key workers once again last night during #ClapForCarers - as ever it was so moving to see and hear.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognise the hard work of people working across the care sector and acknowledge the significant challenges they have faced. As you know, a few weeks ago we shared with you a letter of support we sent to care providers. This included information about dedicated teams for each local authority area to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 getting into establishments and reducing the spread once in homes.

In addition to this, testing of residents and staff in care homes across our integrated care system is a key priority in tackling COVID-19. NHS organisations, directors of public health and Public Health North East are working together to prioritise and target all available resources, both local and national testing capacity, to provide timely testing for the early identification of infection. This work is targeted at homes that have not yet had outbreaks, to ensure all precautionary measures are in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering the home, as well as to provide on-going support and advice to homes who have had cases in residents or staff to prevent further transmission.

You will have seen lots in the media about fewer people seeking help and treatment from the NHS including attending accident and emergency departments; as well as how the NHS is restarting some of the non-urgent services it put on hold and the challenges this presents us all.

There’s lots of messages for the public to take in and this is at a time when the public may be concerned about whether it is safe to come into hospitals, GP surgeries and clinics. We will continue to work together to do what we can to reassure the public that we are here if they need us and that our priority is to keep them safe and well. And of course, reassuring and supporting our staff as we move into this new phase.

Just a reminder that we have two animations covering some of these messages, you can view them here. Do contact us if you would like copies to share across your own channels. These will be supported by more communications over the coming weeks and months from all our organisations.

Although some of the rules have been relaxed on travelling during the lockdown we are still appealing to people to stay as local as they can for now. Please do what you can to share this message from our colleagues in Cumbria.

Next week marks the start of mental health awareness week, and the theme for this year is kindness. The impact that the coronavirus outbreak has had on our lives has taken many of us by surprise, but the one thing that we have seen is that kindness is prevailing within our communities.

With this in mind, and as we head into the weekend, I would like to remind those of you who aren’t working of the importance of having some downtime and making sure you recharge your batteries. For those who are working over the weekend, I would like to thank you for your hard work and let you know that your efforts continue to be much appreciated.

Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
NHS England/Improvement statement on Coronavirus (Covid-19) on 15 May 2020
A further 186 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 24,345.

Patients were aged between 15 and 99 years old. 10 of the 186 patients (aged between 30 and 94 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 29
London 20
Midlands 50
North East & Yorkshire 23
North West 31
South East 26
South West 7


NHS England and NHS Improvement publish the number of patients who have died in hospital and tested positive for COVID-19 in England. Since 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, 26 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.