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Covid-19 deaths pass 1,000 in Birmingham hospitals

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image copyrightEPA
image captionThe number of coronavirus cases in Birmingham is 153.2 per 100,000 people

The UK's first hospital trust to record 1,000 Covid-19 deaths says the toll is the "terrible reality" of the virus.

University Hospitals Birmingham, which has four hospitals and is the biggest trust in England, reported there had been 1,002 deaths since 14 March as of Monday.

The number of coronavirus cases in Birmingham is 153.2 per 100,000 people, in the seven days to 24 September.

The hospital trust confirmed the figure with "great sadness".

"Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of those who have suffered losses," a trust spokesman said.

The spokesman said while it did not "mitigate the terrible reality of the number of deaths", the trust could "take some comfort" that 3,000 positive virus inpatients had been discharged from hospital.

'I was given a 50:50 survival chance'

image copyrightPaul Nicholls
image captionPaul Nicholls spent seven days in hospital with coronavirus

Paul Nicholls, 52, spent seven days at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in April, where he was treated for coronavirus, pneumonia and a diabetic complication.

He said the care he received was "very good" and he was surprised by how "ordered and regimented everything was".

"I was very dehydrated but I didn't have a cough, I was nauseous and had horrific headaches, I couldn't open my eyes," the father-of-four said.

"I didn't realise until after, but they'd given me a 50/50 chance of surviving.

"It was a weird time in there [hospital] ... one time a nurse came in and said 'I need to pull the curtains across' and I said 'are you taking the dead away?' and she said 'yes we are' and you heard all these trolleys being wheeled away."

Mr Nicholls, from West Heath, said staff were "stretched" but also "really excellent".

He is still recovering from the long-term effects of the virus and said he still gets "breathless" at times.

As of 27 September, the highest number of deaths at a Scottish hospital trust is 735, at the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde trust; for Wales the highest number of virus deaths is 423, at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

In Northern Ireland, as of Sunday, there had been 479 Covid-related deaths across all hospitals.

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The West Midlands trust's four hospitals - Good Hope, Heartlands, Queen Elizabeth and Solihull - delivers more babies than anywhere else in Europe and the trust itself employs more than 20,000 people.

The most recent inspection report, published by the Care Quality Commission in February 2019, rated the trust as good.

Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull and Wolverhampton are currently under tighter coronavirus restrictions because of their high infection rates.

The rules mean people are not allowed to socialise with anyone outside their household, including in homes and gardens.

Residents are still allowed to go to work, school and hospitality venues, as long as the the national rule of six is adhered too.

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