The number of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes now stands at more than 8,300, official figures have revealed.
Figures published yesterday (12 May) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 8,312 deaths involving COVD-19 have been registered in care homes up to the week ending 1 May.
The ONS figures also show a decrease for the second week running in the overall number of deaths registered – 17,953.
Of all deaths involving coronavirus up to 1 May, more than two thirds (22,873) occurred in hospital, while the remainder occurred in private homes (1,562) and hospices (386.).
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) also published its own data on the number of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes yesterday.
The CQC data shows 1,503 deaths in care homes for the week ending 8 May, which is a decrease on the 2,200 recorded for the week ending 1 May.
According to the CQC data, there have been 8,209 deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes over the last four weeks.
Responding to the latest figures, the president of ADASS, James Bullion said the government’s number one priority must now be to protect people needing and working in social care at all costs.
‘This means making sure that social care colleagues and family carers are prioritised for PPE, have access to testing when and wherever they need it, and have support for the traumas that they experience,’ said Mr Bullion.
‘Pay and progression for social care staff must be recognised as social care is sorted out, once and for all. Social care can no longer be an afterthought or a second order priority behind the NHS.’
NHS Confederation director Dr Layla McCay said although there was hope to be found in the latest figures showing deaths from COVID-19 are coming down, people ‘cannot afford to become complacent’.
‘Looking at care homes, deaths from COVID-19 may be down week-on-week, but they are still second only to those in hospitals and are climbing as a percentage of all deaths,’ she said.
‘We welcome the government’s announcement that every staff member and patient in care homes, with or without symptoms, is to be offered a test by 6 June.
‘However, we still need to be sure that the testing service is fully accessible, especially in light of the importance of the test, track and trace strategy that will play such a key role in the planned easing of lockdown. This means making tests easily available beyond hospitals, to frontline staff as a priority in both health and care, but also to the public, including at home.’
The assistant general secretary of the trade union Unison, Christina McAnea added: ‘There’s clearly no major slowdown in the devastation being experienced in care homes, causing heartache for so many families. It’s not just the lives of vulnerable residents that are being lost, but care workers too.
’This underlines why any return to work and school must be managed safely to avoid key workers being exposed to the virus as they travel, putting further lives at risk.’
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