Figures reveal Covid-19 death toll in Kirklees has exceeded 1,000
Stark new figures released this week have revealed that the number of people in Kirklees who have died from Covid-19 has now exceeded 1,000.
Data from the Office of National Statistics shows a total of 1,014 cases have been recorded in the district where Covid was written on the death certificate, as of September 24.
This grim milestone has prompted renewed calls for people to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and for those eligible for booster jabs to come forward when it’s their turn.
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “I want to firstly offer my deepest sympathies to the families of those in Kirklees and across the world who have lost their lives to Covid-19.
“The virus is still spreading in our communities and rates of infection are high across the country, including in Kirklees.
“Taking both doses of the vaccine, and the autumn booster for those eligible, is the very best way you can protect yourself and will also reduce your chances of passing Covid-19 on to someone else who might be more likely to become severely ill.
“We are still seeing hospital admissions rise amongst the 20-39 age group, where vaccine uptake is lower.
"So I urge everyone, whatever your age or how fit and healthy you are, to take the vaccine.
“Regular rapid lateral flow testing is so important to help stop the spread of the virus, even if you have been vaccinated.
"Rapid lateral flow testing identifies those who do not have Covid symptoms but may have the virus and be spreading it unknowingly.
“Also, always remember the basics, such as regular hand-washing and considering wearing a face covering when you’re in a crowded public place, are still really effective ways to stay safe.”
Earlier this week, a damning report criticised the Government for its handling of the pandemic.
There was particular criticism of the delay before introducing the first national lockdown in March 2020 - a decision that the report concludes cost thousands of lives.
But it did praise the UK’s vaccination programme as being a big success.
Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood said: “Every death in this pandemic has been a tragedy, no matter the cause, and I share the grief of all those who have been bereaved during this difficult time.
“There will be an independent statutory inquiry into the handling of the pandemic next year, and the Prime Minister has been clear that the Government is fully committed to learning the lessons at every stage of this crisis.
“I am encouraged that the UK has been rolling out the fastest vaccination programme in Europe, allowing us to live now with the vaccine without significant restrictions on our freedoms.
"This is a significant achievement, and I am pleased the UK’s vaccine effort was praised in the recent reports.
“It is evident that the Covid-19 vaccine saves lives, and studies have shown it has been effective in reducing deaths and hospitalisations.
"It is, therefore, vital that everyone eligible receives the vaccine to protect themselves, their community and the country as we continue to work to defeat this virus, which has caused so much suffering and taken too many lives.
“If you are able, I urge you to please take up the vaccine, to protect your loved ones and prevent the number of deaths in Kirklees from rising further.”
Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater said: “This cross-party report exposes some very serious shortcomings in the Government’s response to the pandemic.
"Thousands of lives have been lost that could have been saved, because of slow decision-making and a failure to learn from the experience of countries that were better prepared to handle the crisis.
“I have met with a number of constituents struggling with the impact of both Covid infection itself and long-Covid.
“The statistics, both nationally and locally, are horrific, but what really breaks my heart is the impact on individuals and families, knowing that a loved one could have survived if action had been taken sooner.
“Like so many others across Batley and Spen, my family has experienced what it’s like to suffer from Covid-19. We were all double-vaccinated and so fortunately we have all recovered.
“I cannot stress too much the importance of everybody getting their jabs and, if they are older or vulnerable, booking a booster as soon as it becomes available.”
The Covid death toll in Kirklees is the third highest in West Yorkshire, behind Leeds (1,842) and Bradford (1,422).
Elsewhere in the county, there have been 957 deaths in Wakefield and 382 in Calderdale.