COVID-19 related deaths in care homes in England and Wales have fallen to a four-month low, according to the ONS.
In its latest release covering the week ending 24 July, the ONS reported that the number of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes in England and Wales fell by almost a quarter on the previous week to 69, the lowest recorded number since the end of March.
Year-to-date analysis shows there were 15,289 deaths involving COVID-19 occurring in care homes in England and Wales up to 24 July, or 29.7% of total COVID-19 deaths.
Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes as a proportion of all deaths in care homes fell from 5.1% to 3.7%.
CQC figures show there were 14,090 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19 between 10 April and 31 July with 44 notifications coming in the week to 31 July.
Care Inspectorate Wales said there were 501 deaths of residents involving COVID-19 between 17 March and 24 July in Wales.
The latest ONS research on deaths of care home residents in all settings at the beginning of last month put the number of COVID-19 related fatalities at around 20,000, although the LSE has estimated that the true figure is higher.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Today’s figures show a significant and welcome fall in care and nursing home deaths, which is wonderful news. However, we have to remain vigilant, even though there is growing demand for homes to re-open their doors.”
Mike urged care home operators to slow down in their opening up due to signs that a second coronavirus wave is emerging.
“We are being warned that a second wave of COVID-19 is just weeks away and we haven’t got the testing regime in place that we were promised,” he said.
“All in all, it is just too risky for the health and safety of our residents and our staff to ease lockdown restrictions in care and nursing homes too quickly.”
The ICG chair voiced his disappointment that a deadline for the regular testing of all elderly care homes has been put back to September.
While welcoming a new 90-munute test announced by the government, Mike also cautioned that questions remained about the system.