The city has experienced a higher level of cases and deaths compared to other parts of the Northeast.
There are 342 confirmed cases of the disease in Sunderland and 118 in South Tyneside according to the latest data from Public Health England.
In Northumberland, there have been 52 deaths at the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, with 272 confirmed cases, at Gateshead there have been 28 deaths and 230 cases. The Newcastle Hospitals Trust has recorded 34 deaths from people who test positive for the coronavirus, while 432 cases have been confirmed in the city.
County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust has recorded 48 deaths related to the disease, Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has recorded 16 deaths and South Tees NHS Foundation Trust has recorded 69 deaths.
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Experts pointed to high levels of deprivation, an older population – 20% of Sunderland’s population is over the age of 65 – and a large portion of the city’s population suffering from underlying health conditions as reasons for whom the number of people who died with a coronavirus is higher than in other neighboring regions.
Health research on Sunderland residents last year found that a “significant number” of deaths in the region were already due to preventable causes, such as smoking, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption and non-physical activity.
Gillian Gibson, director of public health for Sunderland City Council, said that many people lived in the city with pre-existing health conditions and that many of these people were at greater risk if they contracted coronavirus due to these conditions. health problems.
Ms. Gibson said, “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to everyone who has been affected by COVID-19, whether as patients with symptoms or as friends and family who have lost their loved ones. Dear.
“Sunderland has an aging population and many people with pre-existing medical conditions.
“This puts more people in Sunderland at increased risk if they get COVID-19.”
She urged residents of Sunderland to follow government guidelines to help stem the spread of the disease.
Gibson said, “You can protect yourself, your family and the NHS by following the advice to only go out for shopping, for health reasons, or to work if you can’t work from home.”
“Please practice social distancing if you are away and wash your hands as soon as you return home.
“We also know that smokers are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and Sunderland has higher smoking rates than in many other parts of the country.
“There has never been a more important time to stop smoking and protect your own health and the health of those around you.”
His call for people to follow the rules is supported by Dr. Shaz Wahid, medical director of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: “Our sincere condolences go out to all the families who were affected by COVID-19 at such a painful time.
“As you can understand, this is also a very difficult time for our staff, who work tirelessly and with the greatest compassion to provide the best care to our patients.
“Every loss of COVID-19 is felt by all of us.
“Many of the people we deal with everyday in southern Tyneside and Sunderland have complex underlying health issues and it is extremely important that the public adhere to government guidelines on social distancing and isolation to help protect the NHS and help us save more lives. ”