The number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales has risen by 14.

Public Health Wales (PHW) reported on Thursday that the number of fatalities with lab-confirmed Covid-19 has now reached 1,307 since the outbreak began.

The NHS trust added that the number of confirmed cases has risen by 72, bringing the total to 13,725.

Blaenau Gwent, Newport, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire reported no new cases of the virus in the latest daily figures.

In terms of testing, where capacity now stands at more than 5,500 in Wales, on Wednesday just 1,555 tests were conducted.

The latest statistics were announced following a press conference with NHS chief executive Andrew Goodall who gave an update on the situation in hospitals across Wales.

He said many local authorities were now reporting fewer than five new coronavirus cases a day, with the number being in “steady decline” since the beginning of April.

It was also confirmed that the number of people dying from coronavirus has been falling gradually since the middle of last month.

He added that 44 people who had Covid-19 were currently being treated in Welsh intensive care units. This was the lowest number since March 27.

However, Dr Goodall warned that coronavirus is still stopping people from going to hospital with other conditions.

He said activity in hospital A&E departments had fallen by a third overall compared to last year.

“The largest decrease in activity has been among children and young adults. Attendances are some 60% lower than last year,” he said.

“We would urge parents who are concerned their children may need urgent or emergency care to dial 111 or 999 in an emergency.”

The NHS chief executive said there had been a 40% reduction in attendances for the over-75s.

He said there had been reports from clinicians about an increase in people with anxiety or emotional distress who presented later than they should have.

“If you are coming to an emergency department, please don’t be alarmed if you see NHS staff wearing face masks or other protective equipment. They are wearing this for their protection and, importantly, for yours,” he said.

“It is important that people with potentially urgent conditions continue to come to hospital when they need help”.

He said the NHS had introduced a new national pathway to separate those with coronavirus and those without.

Meanwhile, Dr Goodall said the Welsh Government had so far recruited 600 people to work as contact tracers – but wants 400 more to reach 1,000. He said that number would not be needed “from day one”.

He said the whole contact tracing system would be up and running by Monday.

The NHS chief executive said there was a possibility of teething issues with the system, including the ability to hold some of the data, whether call handling facilities were in place and understanding the differences in how to react in a city versus rural areas.

When asked how lockdown measures may change soon in Wales, Dr Goodall said: “We’ve had to maintain a really clear message asking people to stay home and stay local.”

He said his concern now is for Wales to maintain a “cautious approach” to easing restrictions, but would not be drawn on what restrictions he’d like to see lifted.


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