The leaders of the sector said that nursing homes have become the new frontline in the lot against Covid.
For several times, NHS became the frontline of Covid-19, now care homes become UK Covid frontline. This statement comes after the deaths in some of the largest care homes networks have surged by more than 70% in the last week or two. Then official figures due on Tuesday are expected to show a significant increase.
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Covid: care homes have become the new frontline
Based on Public Health England, Covid-19 at the end of April 19, 2020, 651 of the 682 cases in the UK were in care homes. The UK reported 244 Covid-19 deaths in its facilities, a 74% rise in six days, including 18 deaths in a single home in north London where a care worker also died.
Four Seasons Health Care reported a 79% increase in deaths in two weeks, bringing its death toll to 286, while the UK’s largest private provider, HC One, announced a 50% increase in deaths in 10 days, to 616. Bupa, which operates 125 homes, revealed it had lost well over 200 residents with confirmed or suspected Covid-19
Vic Rayner, the director of the National Care Forum said that we are nowhere near a peak in care homes and this is absolutely the wrong time to turn away from actions to fight the virus. He also added that this isn’t a one-round fight. We need to make sure the care sector gets the resources it needs, and we haven’t seen the level of action we need to get this right yet. The frontline of this virus has moved into care homes and the clinical focus now needs to shift.
Julie Ogley, the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said she believes that as many people could die from the virus in social care as in hospitals, where the death toll passed 21,000 on Monday. She said supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) remained inadequate, with a promised national ordering system still not operating and not expected for several weeks.
The number of deaths across all care homes has been hard to pin down. Last week the Department of Health and Social Care said the official death toll in care homes in England had doubled in five days, to more than 2,000 by 15 April. Figures for that period will be confirmed by the Office of National Statistics on Tuesday alongside the release of Care Quality Commission data.
Andrew Knight, chief executive of Care UK’s residential care services, said: “Last week was the most difficult week we have faced to date. Over the last few weeks, our homes have been caring for a significant number of residents who were symptomatic, and very sadly many have not made it through the illness”. Three-quarters of the chain’s 122 care homes are dealing with infections.