Care homes now account for a third of COVID-19 related deaths in England and Wales, according to the latest statistics.
The number of people dying in care homes with the virus doubled to 2,000 in the week to April 17 compared with just over a thousand in the week to April 10, the ONS has revealed in its first statistics published jointly with the CQC.
Additionally, the ONS said there were almost 3,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the year to April 17 with the CQC recording an additional 2,375 deaths in the period between April 18 and April 24.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum, said: “The numbers revealed today make it more important than ever that we build a ‘ring of steel’ around care homes. They need the right PPE equipment, medical monitoring devices, rapid and comprehensive testing, proper funding and intensive research to safeguard the people they care for. This virus is not going away – this data shows that the ‘whatever it takes’ mantra must be applied urgently to protect the most vulnerable in social care, as we have to the NHS. We need action and we need it now.”
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said the real number of care home deaths could be far higher than the new 5,500 combined estimate using ONS and CQC figures.
“Due to the lag in collating these figures, we do fear that the true number of people who have died in care and nursing homes since the start of coronavirus may be higher than these figures suggest,” Mike said.
“It may well be that they are increasing whilst hospital deaths are falling. We hope not, but it might be that the numbers will actually be higher. Social care providers are now on the true front line in the fight against Covid-19 and we need more support. The government must provide better support for care providers in terms of PPE, testing and finance so that we can protect more people and keep these numbers as low as we can. There must be no let up.”