17 July 2020
“What does national and local data reveal about how the coronavirus has impacted on our city, its residents, and services?”
Since the coronavirus was recognised as a global pandemic, and particularly since lockdown was announced in England on 23 March, we have been presented with an ever-increasing amount of data describing the impacts of the virus (COVID-19).
But what does this data say about the impacts for our city and its residents?
- What are transmission rates like in in our city?
- How many people have sadly died, directly or indirectly, from the virus?
- Have certain areas of the city been more affected than others?
- Which groups have been adversely affected, if any?
- And what has been the impact on our local hospitals and social care services?
In an attempt to answer these questions, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove has examined a range of published data examining the wider health and societal impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19).Our report can be found on the Healthwatch website under the Reports section
The data described in this report, accurate as at the date of writing (July 2020), indicates:
There have been relatively low numbers of confirmed cases – 779 as of 15th July out of a population of 290,885 – less than 3%. But these are only cases which have been confirmed by a test. We have not seen or identified data about how many additional suspected cases there might be. But we can assume the real number is higher.
As at the 3 July, the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 stood at 158. But these are only cases where the virus was mentioned on the death certificate. Once again, we have not identified any data showing how many more cases might be linked to the virus but where this was not recorded. What is clear, is that COVID-19 raised the death rate above the average seen in the city between 2014-2018 in 11 of 15 weeks reported upon.
As at 15 July, 147 deaths were registered of patients who had sadly died in hospitals within the Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust in England. These are patients who had tested positive for COVID-19. It is again unclear how many additional unconfirmed deaths linked to COVID-19 there have been.
Separate data has predicted where residents of the city are at highest risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19. The data suggests areas such as Saltdean, Woodingdean, Mile Oak, Westdene, and Hove seafront.
As at 9 July, 44 care homes in Brighton and Hove had reported a suspected or confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 to Public Health England. There are 92 care homes in our city – so 48% of care homes. However, there is no indication of whether the reported outbreaks were confirmed, are still active or have been resolved.
Published government data may not reveal the true picture about care homes either. We understand that the data includes information from all types of domiciliary care and not just care homes. In addition, care homes which report a suspected COVID-19 breakout but where test results subsequently prove to be negative for COVID-19 might not be removed from these statistics. These factors may lead to over reporting.
Healthwatch has not identified comprehensive government data showing the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health of individuals, or on related services. Data shared with us by the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust on numbers accessing mental health services show that face to face contact dropped by 65% compared with expected levels. 13,000 people in Sussex could also experience an increase in mental health problems related to economic downturn.
David Liley, CEO of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove said today:
“Brighton and Hove has been less affected by the virus than other areas. But the published data is not always transparent and may be masking the true picture. We have been unable to identify local data showing daily death rates or hospital admissions and discharges related to COVID-19. Or any data showing the impacts for at risk groups such as those from the BAME (Black and Asian and Other Minority) community.
Our Council has taken up the challenge and is already publishing some excellent daily data on its website and they are to be applauded for that. But more data is needed so that the public can fully understand the impacts from this virus – and this data must be transparent. We understand that the Council are hoping to issue more data in due course.”
Our report can be found on the Healthwatch website under the Reports section
NB Our report focusses on data pertinent to Brighton and Hove but we have also included some national and regional data although this is limited. Healthwatch has not produced any of the data shown in this report and we identified most of the data on the UK government, NHS, and Office for National Statistics websites.
Press release ends
For further help and advice and to escalate issues of concern contact:
David Liley, Chief Officer, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove
Twitter – @HealthwatchBH
Facebook – healthwatchbrightonandhove