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Two arrests made after care home deaths



Two arrests have been made at a care home in Devon that is under investigation by police over a deadly Covid-19 outbreak.

Nine people have died since 25 February at Holmesley Care Home in Sidmouth, which police believe is because of a coronavirus outbreak on the premises.        

A 57-year-old woman from Sidmouth and 30-year-old man from Exeter, both staff at the home, have been arrested on suspicion of willful neglect, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

There are ‘no other arrests’ currently planned as part of the ongoing investigation, they added.

A spokesperson for Holmesley Care Home said they ‘can confirm that two staff members have been arrested following an investigation in to the Covid-19 outbreak at the care home’.

They continued: ‘We are treating the allegations with the utmost seriousness and are grateful to those diligent members of staff who brought concerns to light. The police have our full cooperation in their investigation. We continue to work with all the relevant authorities to manage the outbreak at the home.’

The majority of staff and residents have now completed their self-isolation period, and there are no positive cases within the home, they added.

The arrests come after police this month launched a ‘complex’ investigation focusing on infection control and management within the home in partnership with other agencies, including the Care Quality Commission (CQC).        

Ten residents and a staff member had been admitted to hospital with Covid-19, while a ‘significant number of residents and staff’ had also tested positive for the virus.

Previously, chief superintendent Dan Evans, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: ‘I’ve no doubt there will be concern in the community regarding this incident. We are doing everything possible to help those bereaved families, while also working with partners to communicate to those with relatives remaining within the home.’

The home can provide accommodation for up to 55 people, according to a 2018 CQC report.

Nursing in Practice published an in-depth look at the coronavirus crisis in care homes in September last year.