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New stats show 4,000 care home deaths in a fortnight from coronavirus

The number of deaths from coronavirus in care homes continues to rise (PA)

3 min read

The number of deaths in care homes from coronavirus hit 4,343 in a two-week period, according to new figures.

The latest release from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also reveals 40% of all fatalities per week in the UK are now related to Covid-19.

Included in the latest batch of data for the first time is the number of deaths reported to the Care Quality Commission from residential facilities.

They report a total of 4,343 deaths in care homes from 10 to 24 April, which Labour say shows why “urgent action is needed to get a grip of this problem”.

Overall the ONS figures reveal the true death toll from coronavirus is around 40% higher than the daily total published by NHS England.

Their stats show there were 21,284 deaths linked to Covid-19 in England up to 17 April, compared with the 15,293 for the same period reported by the health service.

This is because the updated figures include all mentions of the virus on a death certificate, including suspected cases, as well as deaths in the community which take longer to appear in the data - whereas the NHS number is only confirmed cases within a hospital.

The figure for the total deaths registered in England and Wales between 10 and 17 April was 22,351, and increase of 3,835 from the previous seven days, and the highest weekly total recorded since comparable figures began in 1993.

Of those deaths 8,758 mentioned “novel coronavirus (Covid-19)”, which is 39.2% of the total.

The worst-hit region continues to be London, where 55% of fatalities registered in that week involved the disease.

In response to the figures, Labour’s shadow social care minister Liz Kendall has written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to lay out six key she believes the Government needs to address, including priority testing for social care workers and updating the daily reporting figures to include deaths outside hospital.

Ms Kendall said: “These new figures show the devastating impact Covid-19 is having on care homes, and will be desperately worrying for residents, their families, and staff.

“Urgent action is needed to get a grip of this problem.”

A Number 10 spokesperson said on Tuesday: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy. And we’re working night and day to give those in care homes the best possible support."

They added: "We’ve always provided tests where there are outbreaks and homes now also test for symptomatic residents, staff and their families.

"We’ve also already delivered 36.3million pieces of PPE to care settings including 11.4million face masks, 18.3million aprons and 6.6million gloves.” 

And a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “This virus can sadly have a devastating effect on some of our most vulnerable people and our deepest sympathies go out to the families who have sadly lost relatives.’’

‘’We currently publish daily figures to reflect the number of deaths of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 in hospital as accurately as possible.

"This is complemented by the ONS data, which covers all the people who have Covid-19 as a diagnosis on their death certificate in England and Wales, irrespective of the setting where they sadly died.’’

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