Tameside hospital Covid deaths are ‘canary in the mine’

Rise in mortalities indicate consequences of lack of test and trace, says public health chief

A spate of deaths from Covid-19 in a hospital in Greater Manchester are “a canary in the mine” for the rest of the country if it continues to struggle to test and trace infections, one of the UK’s most senior public health chiefs has warned.

Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said the 18 Covid-19 deaths in a week at Tameside general hospital – up from six the week before – were an indicator of what will happen if community transmission continues to rise amid a crisis in testing capacity. No tests were available in the area on Wednesday morning through the government website which has been overwhelmed with demand.

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