Coronavirus cases in Borders second highest in Scotland per head of population, new figures reveal

A tent has been put up outside the Borders Ice Rink at Kelso ahead of its potential conversion into an emergency mortuary for Covid-19 victims.A tent has been put up outside the Borders Ice Rink at Kelso ahead of its potential conversion into an emergency mortuary for Covid-19 victims.
A tent has been put up outside the Borders Ice Rink at Kelso ahead of its potential conversion into an emergency mortuary for Covid-19 victims. | Other 3rd Party
Coronavirus cases in the Borders are the second highest per head of population in the country, new figures reveal.

Statistics issued by the National Records of Scotland yesterday, April 15, show that the region is second only to the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area for proportionate fatalities and even then only by a whisker.

It compiles its weekly figures differently to those issued daily by the Scottish Government, including all deaths attributed to Covid-19, as the disease is also known, and not just those of patients previously tested for and found to be positive.

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That gives a death toll for the region of 30, as of Sunday, rather than the figure of 23, as it was then, issued by the Scottish Government and NHS Borders, though it has since risen to 26.

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Friday at a field hospital being created in Glasgow. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/WPA pool/Getty Images)Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Friday at a field hospital being created in Glasgow. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/WPA pool/Getty Images)
Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Friday at a field hospital being created in Glasgow. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/WPA pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images

That works out as 2.6 deaths attributable to Covid-19 per 10,000 of the Borders’ population of 115,000, only marginally behind the rate of 2.7 for Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The Glaswegian health board area has suffered the most fatalities due to coronavirus in Scotland both proportionately and outright, with its death toll up to 315 as of Sunday, going by the National Records of Scotland’s figures.

Cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Borders are up to 215.

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A daily update issued by the Scottish Government yesterday revealed an increase of seven cases on Tuesday’s total of 208.

There was no increase in the death toll claimed here by Covid-19 for the second day in a row, remaining at 26.

The first five fatalities in the Borders attributable to the virus were announced on Monday, March 30, and that figure rose to seven the day after, eight the next day, 11 a week ago last Thursday, 14 a week ago on Friday, 16 last Sunday, 17 on Monday, 19 on Tuesday, 20 on Friday, 22 on Saturday, 23 on Sunday and 26 on Monday.

They are among a death toll of 699 nationwide, going by Scottish Government figures, or 962, as of Sunday, according to the National Records of Scotland. The former figure was up 84 from 615 overnight.

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Fatalities claimed by coronavirus UK-wide now stand at 12,868, up 761 on the day before.

Altogether, 6,748 cases of the illness have been confirmed across Scotland, up from 6,358 the day before.

Across the UK, 98,476 people, including British prime minister Boris Johnson, have tested positive for the illness, up 4,605 from the day before.

Some 34,064 tests for coronavirus have been carried out in Scotland so far, with 27,316 returning negative results.

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It’s over a month now since the first two cases of the illness were confirmed in the Borders on Wednesday, March 11, and a month and a half since Scotland’s first case, in Tayside, was announced on Sunday, March 1, after spreading across the world from Wuhan in China.

Explaining the introduction of a second set of weekly figures higher than those announced daily, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday told a briefing in Edinburgh: “The number of deaths covered under this reporting system is larger than under the daily system when you compare the two figures according to the same date, but it is a comprehensive figure and therefore obviously a more accurate one.

“I am acutely aware that this information is hard to hear. It is also very hard to report on. These numbers are higher than anyone could ever want to think about, but we do need this fuller information to understand the toll the virus is having, how and where the virus is progressing and to inform what we need to do next.

“I focus on the statistics in these updates because they are important.

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“They give some overall sense of how the virus is spreading.

“And at a briefing like today’s, the statistics do need some explanation.

“But I am always very acutely aware that, standing here, each death is not just a statistic.

“Every single one represents a unique, irreplaceable individual, and we should always keep that in mind.

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“I want once again to express my condolences to everybody who has lost friends, a family member or a loved one to this virus.

“I also want to acknowledge that listening to these figures and statistics is hard and it is horrible.

“It is hard and horrible to stand here talking about them, and it can also make you feel powerless – that something we cannot see is claiming so many lives amongst us – but the point I want to stress, as I always do, is none of us are powerless and all of us have some control here.

“By following the rules, by staying home and by self-isolating when we have symptoms, all of us can help to reduce the number of deaths.”

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