Inverclyde has the highest Covid-19 death rate in Scotland with figures double the national average.
Communities are seeing a higher proportion of people die than any other area in the country – the latest figures show for every 10,000 people who live there – 13 are dying.
However, like the rest of Scotland, the death rate is falling week by week.
Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said he is “surprised” by the latest figures.
He said: “Given what the experts say about the impact of Covid on older people, on people with underlying health conditions and communities with high-density housing, we were expecting to be one of the worst-hit areas but we wouldn’t have expected to be way out in front of everyone else”.
Statistics show you’re twice as likely to die from Covid-19 if you live in some of the poorest areas, compared to other parts of the country.
Earlier this year the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation found some of the countries most deprived neighbourhoods were clustered along the south bank of the Firth of Clyde.
It is those communities, in some of the most deprived areas of the country, that are feeling the pressure of the Covid-19 crisis more than others.
Determined to find all the reasons for the stark statistics associated with Inverclyde, the council have commissioned a report from the health board and local politicians are calling for an inquiry to find why services here appear to be under so much strain.
“There are factors at play here that can undoubtedly can be explained by deprivation,” said Councillor McCabe. “But there are potentially other factors in the case of Inverclyde that need to be investigated.”
However, behind the numbers are the people, their lives and their families.
“We’re hearing hard stories,” said Gwyneth MacDonald, a therapist and director of the charity Mind Mosiac told STV News. “I think there’s no doubt about it – the deck was stacked a bit against us because of those statistics around deprivation.
‘I think there’s no doubt about it – the deck was stacked a bit against us because of those statistics around deprivation.’Gwyneth MacDonald, charity director
“We have some people who are on their own and haven’t touched another person for eight weeks.”
With so many people affected, lifeline services like childcare hubs for key workers also become sanctuaries of support for the community’s youngest and their families.
“When you are working with people who are experiencing bereavement and you can’t comfort them the way you normally would – that is heart-wrenching,” said Gail Connick, headteacher of Lady Alice Primary School, one of the childcare hubs in Greenock.
In these hardest of times people here are coming together in their droves and dozens of groups have been created supporting neighbours and strangers alike.
‘When you are working with people who are experiencing bereavement and you can’t comfort them the way you normally would – that is heart-wrenching.’Gail Connick, head teacher of Lady Alice Primary School
From the Berry Bpi plastics factory in Port Glasgow making PPE that’s then delivered straight to the Inverclyde Royal Hospital, to the council staff and volunteers preparing hundreds of meals feeding those who can’t leave their homes, hundreds are playing their part.
“The community has found some real strength from somewhere,” said Lorraine Harrison, manager for Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership. “When we speak to people we find there are other community agencies out there doing the same as us – which is great, it makes me feel really proud”.
The Belville Community Garden in Greenock was once just that – a garden. It sits at the top of a hill over looking the firth on a site once occupied by high-rise towers.
Now the trust who run the project find themselves operating like a logistics firm, delivering hundreds of food packages and isolation kits across the region.
“We’ve got 140 new volunteers that we never had before, there’s a huge surge of people helping each other out,” said trust manager, Laura Reilly.
Plans are now under way for a memorial in the Belville Community Garden to remember the people of this pandemic – those who have sadly been lost to this virus, but also to those who are standing up and playing their part.