Public Health England (PHE) medical director Yvonne Doyle has admitted that deaths in care homes are likely to rise as those seen in hospital have begun to drop.
The announcement came as the government included care homes for the first time in its national daily update of those dying from the virus. The total number of deaths now stands at more than 26,000.
Ms Doyle told journalists that deaths in care homes may be revised upwards, commenting: “In due course those deaths sadly may occur on death certificates, so we may expect more than we are seeing at the moment, yes.”
PHE data has revealed that 30% of care homes in England have suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The latest estimate based on combined ONS and CQC data puts the combined death toll at around 5,500 but it is generally believed that the real number could be significantly higher.
Responding to the government’s launch of daily data including care home deaths, Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, told CHP: “One of the challenges in this pandemic is that we have not had real-time data, and this has meant that the NHS and the government were not clear about the impact this pandemic was having in care homes.
“Now our data is included in the daily statistics there is no excuse for the government or the NHS to ignore social care.”