Almost one in ten care homes have been infected with the coronavirus, according to chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.
Speaking during the daily Downing Street update yesterday, Professor Whitty urged relatives of care homes residents to stay away, adding the infection rate amongst the elderly was sure to rise.
Professor Whitty said: “Care homes and nursing homes are going to provide us with some of the biggest challenges, and we have seen already that over nine per cent of care homes have reported cases.
“I regret to say I think the number will go up over time. I would encourage people not to go into care homes unless they need to.”
According to the Daily Mail, around 70 care home residents have died from the coronavirus but a lack of testing means the figure could be far higher.
The latest ONS figures covering the week to 27 March (see table below) reveal there were 539 coronavirus-linked deaths in England and Wales.
Of these, 93%, or 501 occurred in hospitals, with 20 taking place in care homes.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chairman for the National Care Association, told CHP that access to PPE was a major problem in the fight against care home infection in care homes.
Nadra said: “Providers are having to access PPE in any way they can and this is often at outrageous prices but there are no options as stock has been requisitioned for the NHS. Additionally, there is no VAT relief on any of these products for our sector whilst the NHS has obtained an exemption. Clearly, the financial impact on our providers will take its toll and the impact of that will create additional tensions for the nation as a whole.”