The number of weekly COVID-related deaths in care homes has almost doubled in a week as the government scrambles to meet its deadline of vaccinating every care home by the end of the month.
In its latest weekly update, the ONS reported 960 COVID-related deaths in care homes in England and Wales in the week ending 8 January, up by 400 on the previous week – the biggest weekly rise since May. On a year to date basis, there were 21,621 deaths in care homes until 8 January.
CQC data showed there were 21,344 deaths related to COVID-19 in care homes in England between 10 April 2020 and 15 January 2021, with 1,260 notifications taking place in the week ending 15 January.
Care Inspectorate Wales reported 1,269 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 1 January 2021.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Today’s awful figures show us that COVID-19 is still taking a terrible toll in our care and nursing homes. Each statistic is the death of a loved one – a parent, a wife, a husband, an aunt, uncle or friend and our thoughts go out to everyone who has lost someone to COVID-19.
“We have to keep up the pressure – keep the momentum on the vaccination programme and, as a society, keep observing the rules.”
The soaring death toll came as the government appears to be struggling to meet its target of offering care home vaccinations to all residents and staff by the end of the month. The NHS has instructed GPs to vaccinate all care homes by 24 January.
Leading care home operator Care UK told us that around 43% of residents and 30% of staff had been vaccinated as of yesterday.
Barchester Healthcare put their jab figures for residents and staff at 57% and 43%, respectively, while Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell Healthcare saying 62% of residents had been vaccinated and 40% of staff. Not for provider MHA told CHP, around two-thirds of its homes had been vaccinated.
Operators continued to report that some staff were refusing to be vaccinated though the vast majority were agreeing.
Sunrise and Gracewell said 8% of staff and 1% of residents had refused vaccines. Barchester said 6% of staff had yet to agree to vaccinations.