‘A terrible milestone’: Archbishop leads tributes as Covid deaths in York NHS Trust pass 500

More than 500 people have died at York Hospital Trust after testing positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Today the trust, which includes York and Scarborough Hospitals, reached the sad milestone.

The Archbishop of York the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell led tributes to those who have lost their lives and to the staff at York Hospital Trust.

Archbishop Cottrell said: “Five hundred deaths is a terrible milestone to pass and I am extremely saddened by this – each one was someone who was loved and treasured by others and will be missed by them.

“We also think of the staff who are working within the trust who have seen such pain and suffering on a scale none would have dreamed of a year ago.

“We pray that they will be comforted and strengthened in all that they do to care for others.

“The pandemic has brought sadness and suffering, but it has also brought us together.

“I see goodness in the care of our neighbours in local communities which warms my heart.”

Deeply saddened

The Revd Canon Michael Smith, pastor at York Minster. Photograph: Richard McDougall

On February 2 the total number of patients who died at the Trust after testing positive for Covid-19 rose from 499 to 507.

It is less than a year since the first inpatient at the Trust tested positive for Covid-19, on March 10 2020.

A spokesperson for York Hospital Trust, said: “We are deeply saddened to have reached this tragic milestone.

“Each and every one of these patients is a much loved family member, friend or colleague.

“Our thoughts go out to all those families affected and also to our staff who day in, day out do everything they can to care for people who are seriously ill with this virus.”

The Revd Canon Michael Smith of York Minster offered prayers on Tuesday for all who have died and said: “As we hear of the death from Covid of the 500th person here in York, our prayers continue, not only for those who have died but for the thousands more who are bereaved.

“As soon as regulations allow there will be further opportunities for people to come to the Minster to remember and pray for loved ones who have died.”

York MPs Julian Sturdy and Rachael Maskell

York Central MP Rachael Maskell said: “I particularly think of family members and friends today who are grieving. They need us to be there for them, more than ever.

“Such a tragic milestone will have a profound impact on the hospital staff who have given their all to help people recover, but when this can’t be the outcome, I know they give their all to give comfort and care to those who do not recover.”

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said: “At this time, it is important to look beyond this grave statistic and remember the impact of each death across our region.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to families who are grieving for the loss of a loved one and I sincerely hope that fond memories of their life brings some comfort amidst the pain.

“My thoughts are also with the incredible NHS staff who have worked under extreme conditions on the frontline fighting the pandemic and have had to face the unfortunate loss of patients, despite their very best efforts.

“This sobering milestone is a reminder that we must remain vigilant and that, while the vaccine rollout offers encouragement for a return of normality in the near future, we must not let our guard down yet and we must continue to fight the virus by breaking chains of transmission. ”

The figures do not include deaths related to Covid-19 outside the hospital that have been recorded in care homes or the community.