Care home deaths related to COVID-19 have risen for the first time in four months, according to the latest ONS figures.
The number of COVID-related deaths occurring in care homes in England and Wales rose to 40 in the week ending August 14, up by five deaths on the previous week.
Four of those deaths occurred in England and one in Wales.
The ONS reported that between Weeks 32 and 33, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased in hospitals, but increased or remained similar across all other settings.
In care homes, this is the first rise in COVID-related deaths since week 17 (ending April 24), when deaths had risen from 2,054 to 2,794, before falling to 2,423 in week 18.
Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 33, 29.6% occurred in care homes.
CQC data shows there were 14,177 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19 between April 10 and August 21, with 26 taking place in the week up to August 21.
The Care Inspectorate Wales reported there were 504 deaths between March 17 and August 14.
Responding to the news, Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England said: “The ONS data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a real danger for care services and the government must continue to offer financial and practical support to the sector.”
Mike Padgham, Chair of The Independent Care Group, has warned care providers to stay vigilant.
He said: “The one thing we fear more than anything else is a second wave of coronavirus, particularly as we are edging closer to autumn and winter.
“Thankfully, the death rate figures have been consistently going down for many weeks and we have to hope that today’s small increase is just a blip. What it does do is remind us all that coronavirus hasn’t gone away and we must remain vigilant.”
Padgham added: “We have to be on our guard in care and nursing homes and keep our residents and staff as safe as we can from Covid-19.
“It is also a reminder to the Government that the dangers in care and nursing homes have not gone away and our need for support is as great as ever.”