Covid-19 death toll up to 34 in Wales

A further six people have died in Wales from coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 34, Public Health Wales (PHW) has said.

The official number of people who have tested positive for the disease is now at 921 after 180 new cases were announced, with the highest amount again located in the Aneurin Bevan health board area.

On Friday, Dr Robin Howe, incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at PHW, said 5,000 coronavirus tests had been carried out so far in Wales and reiterated that the true number of people carrying the disease was likely to be higher.

Dr Howe said: “180 new cases have tested positive for novel coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 921, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.

“Six further deaths have been reported to us of people who had tested positive for novel coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 34.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“We offer our condolences to families and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.”

Of the new cases, 74 were in the Aneurin Bevan health board area, bringing the total of confirmed cases there to 432, well ahead of the area with the second-highest total, Cardiff and the Vale, which has had 194 confirmed cases.

Neath Port Talbot Council has started using flying drones equipped with speakers to distribute public information messages, including telling residents to stay in their homes.

The council said it had teamed up with South Wales Police to survey hotspots where people had not been following government measures on social distancing.

Meanwhile, work is under way across Wales to prepare for anticipated pressures on hospitals, mortuaries and testing centres.

Work to convert a Welsh rugby ground into a temporary hospital ward amid the coronavirus outbreak has started.

Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, is having its indoor training pitch converted into a temporary hospital ward which will provide additional bed space for hundreds of people.

The wooden foundations of the makeshift ward now cover the green turf of the pitch, normally used by the Scarlets rugby team, and will soon be under the management of doctors and nurses from Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Carmarthenshire council leader Emlyn Dole said: “Not one of us wishes we were ever in this position, but I want to thank our officers, contractors and staff at each venue for working tirelessly to prepare for and respond to this crisis.”

The Rodney Parade stadium in Newport, home to the Dragons rugby team and Newport County football team, has become a fast-track coronavirus testing location for NHS staff.

The drive-through testing station is available free-of-charge to frontline staff working for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Drones are now being used to distribute public information messages across NPT during the #coronavirus outbreak. We have teamed up with @swpolice to survey hotspots where people are not following government measures on social distancing 1/2 @saferneathpt@SWPNeath@SWPPortTalbotpic.twitter.com/9pbC6lKUyV

— Neath Port Talbot Council (@NPTCouncil) March 26, 2020

Temporary mortuary facilities were being organised in Powys, which are expected to include an area of the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, usually home to the annual Royal Welsh Show.

Alison Bulman, corporate director for children and adults at Powys County Council, said: “We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of infection and helping to make sure that public services can support us.

“But this is a moment of national emergency and this also means that we need to take additional action to prepare for the challenges we may face in future.

“For this reason we have taken the decision to put in place additional temporary mortuary facilities in Llanelwedd. This means that we can be confident that we have capacity in place to provide dignity in death.

“Our shared ambition must be that we do not need to use them. This means that everyone must play their part by staying home and saving lives.”

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