Four healthcare workers among NI Covid-19 fatalities

Four healthcare workers in Northern Ireland are now known to have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Mark Rainey
Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 2:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 4:21 pm
Emergency Department nurse at Antrim Area Hospital in Northern Ireland.
Emergency Department nurse at Antrim Area Hospital in Northern Ireland.

Details of the fatalities have been revealed as the NI Executive published more detailed information around the age, occupation and affluence of those who died from a Covid-19 related condition.

The vast majority of the fatalities have been in the over-75 age bracket, with only 86 (11.3%) deaths occurring among those classed as being of working age (20-69).

Statisticians have adjusted the figures to account for differing age profiles across the region.

They show that the Covid-19-related age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) was highest for the 20% most deprived areas of Northern Ireland, at 60.5 deaths per 100,000 of the population – compared to an ASMR of 48.2 per 100,000 for NI as a whole.

The standardised hospital admission rate for the population aged 75 and over (2,255 admissions per 100,000 population) was nine times that for the under-75 population (249 admissions per 100,000 population).

Overall, men have been disproportionately affected with 60.4 deaths per 100,000 people compared to women at 40.4, as have people living areas with the highest population density.

The figures cover the period between March 1 and May 31, 2020. Although the first coronavirus death in Northern Ireland was not recorded until March 18, there had been a number of positive tests prior to that date.

While the Department of Health latest updates show that 542 people have died of coronavirus – mainly in a hospital setting – the more detailed statistics being compiled by Nisra (NI Statistics and Research Agency) show that 764 people have had Covid-19 listed as being a factor in their death.

It is not yet known if the four healthcare workers who died were employed at the time of their death, or shielding due to underlying health conditions, however, they have all been listed as being of working age.

Of the 86 people in the 20-69 age bracket who lost their lives, 35 (40.7%) were working in what Nisra describe as the “skilled trades, elementary occupations or process, plant and machine operative occupational groups”.

The next worst affected group by occupation is the one comprising the homemakers, the permanently sick and the unemployed (29.1% of the 86 deaths). Seventeen of those deaths occurred among those working in the professions, management or administrative roles.

As well as impacting on the death rate, there was a sharp contrast between the hospital admission rate for Covid-19 (suspected and confirmed cases) in the 10% most deprived areas compared to the most affluent. The 581 admissions per 100,000 in the most deprived areas was almost double that of the least deprived areas (317).