The number of COVID related deaths in care homes in England and Wales has fallen for the first time in three months.
New weekly data published by the ONS, shows there were 544 COVID-related care home deaths in the week ending 4 December, 27 fewer than the previous week.
While the level of deaths remains at a six-month high, the latest weekly data marks the first drop in the number of COVID-related fatalities since early September.
On a year to date basis, there were 18,434 COVID-related deaths in care homes up to 4 December.
Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes as a proportion of all deaths in care homes fell to 22.0%.
Data based on notifications to the CQC, shows there were 17,508 COVID related deaths in care homes between 10 April and 11 December.
In Wales, there were 1,057 COVID-related deaths notified to Care Inspectorate Wales between 1 March and 4 December.
The latest ONS figures come as care home staff continue to receive vaccinations with residents also beginning to receive their vaccines across the UK this week.
Rachel Williams, manager at Church Farm Care’s Skylarks care home, was one of the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Nottinghamshire.
“It’s great news that the vaccine is being introduced,” Rachel said. “We all need to do our part to protect the vulnerable in our society, so I see the vaccination as an essential part of doing this and continuing to ensure life is as fun and healthy as possible for people who live with us.”
Church Farm Care’s director Patrick Atkinson said: “It’s been an incredibly tough year for everyone working in the care sector, so the availability of the vaccine is welcome news. The wider team will be receiving the vaccination over the coming weeks – a huge step in helping to further protect our residents, colleagues and friends from the virus – and we hope it will allow us to welcome visitors back into our homes in 2021.”