FIFTEEN more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Powys in the last 24 hours.

There have been no further deaths due to Covid-19, meaning the number of people who have died in Powys since the start of the pandemic remains at 58 according to Public Health Wales (PHW) statistics. That number stands at 217 though according to more accurate Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

Deaths of Powys residents are typically skewed because many of the county’s patients deemed acute are transferred to hospitals in England. ONS figures are therefore usually considered a stronger indicator of the overall impact of the virus, and which are based on all deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

The latest PHW statistics show that the total number of cases in the county since the pandemic began now stand at 3,894.

On Monday, it was revealed that the Duke of Cambridge had thanked vaccination staff in Powys for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prince William spoke on the phone with Powys Teaching Health Board's chief pharmacist Jaqui Seaton last week.

They discussed the progress and challenges of delivering the vaccination programme, and the "real team effort" to deliver more than 46,000 doses to people across the county.

Ms Seaton said: "This was such a privilege and something that will stay with me forever.

“The Duke wanted me to make sure I shared his thanks to everyone involved in the vaccination programme in Powys.”

Powys stats:

Confirmed cases – 3,894

New cases in February 23 data – 15

Rate of new cases per 100,000 in week to February 18 – 98.9

Powys position among Welsh local authorities for rate of new cases – 8th out of 22

Newly-confirmed cases day-by-day:

Tuesday, February 23 – 15

Monday, February 22 – 7

Sunday, February 21 – 6

Saturday, February 20 – 6

Friday, February 19 – 24

Thursday, February 18 – 18

Wednesday, February 17 – 24

Tuesday, February 16 – 10

The national picture:

A further four people have died from the virus in Wales, as the number of deaths involving Covid-19 has fallen for the fourth week in a row.

Today’s deaths takes the total number of Covid-related deaths reported by PHW in the country to 5,250.

There have also been a further 317 cases reported, with Wales' overall rate dropping to 79 cases for every 100,000 people. This is the lowest rate of infection the country has seen since September 28.

Two of the newly reported deaths occurred in the Hywel Dda health area in west Wales, taking the total to 442. And two were also confirmed in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board area in south Wales – the area with the highest total number of deaths at 1,459.

There were 216 deaths involving the virus in the last week, accounting for 28.4 per cent of all deaths, according to the ONS. This was 98 fewer deaths than registered in the previous week.

The most deaths within health board areas were in north Wales for the fourth week running.

Figures show that for the period between the start of the pandemic last March and February 12 this year, there were 36,534 deaths from all causes in Wales. Of these, 7,228 deaths (19.8 per cent) mentioned Covid on the death certificate. This was 6,067 deaths above the five-year average.

A Covid outbreak, meanwhile, has hit five adult wards at a north Wales hospital. Ysbyty Gwynedd, in Bangor, said 49 of the 75 coronavirus patients being treated are linked to the outbreak.

The hospital's medical director Dr Karen Mottart said testing had begun for staff and patients.

“As we continue with a programme of additional testing, we expect to find more cases in patients and staff who are not currently symptomatic,” she said.

Public Health Wales' statement:

Dr Giri Shankhar, incident director for the coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is today confirming four additional cases of the South African variant of coronavirus in Wales since the previous update on February 17, bringing the total number to 21.

“We have identified a single case of the South African variant as part of routine genomic sequencing in the Flintshire local authority area with no known link to relevant contacts or travel history. The individual was self-isolating while symptomatic, and there is no evidence of wider community transmission. An investigation is ongoing.

“There remains no evidence of sustained community transmission of the South African variant in Wales. Anyone who is a contact of theses case will be contacted through the Test, Trace, Protect process and provided with additional advice for themselves, their household and other contacts.

“There is no evidence that the South African variant causes more serious illness, although there is some evidence that it can spread more easily, and that vaccines – although still effective – may not work quite as well against it.

“Because of the emergence of new more transmissible variants, it is even more vital that we all keep to the lockdown restrictions and do not meet other people.

“Coronavirus rates have fallen in every part of Wales, but remain higher in some parts. We remind the public that we remain under level 4 restrictions to keep infection rates falling.”