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Care homes account for two-fifths of Covid-19 deaths

More than 40% of coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were in care homes towards the end of April, data published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

There were 2,423 care home Covid-19 fatalities in England and Wales in the week ending 1 May, accounting for 40.4% of overall deaths – despite health secretary Matt Hancock claiming care homes made up ‘only a quarter’ of coronavirus deaths.

Although the latest figure represents an increase of the proportion of Covid-19 deaths taking in place in care homes, the actual numbers are down from the 2,794 the week before.

The report said: ‘In the most recent days, the proportion of deaths occurring in care homes has accounted for 40.4% of all deaths involving COVID-19.

‘Although we expect numbers of deaths to increase as more are registered, it currently appears that deaths per day are decreasing.’

In Northern Ireland, the proportion of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes is even higher, where they accounted for 45% of fatalities linked to the disease in the week ending 1 May.

In total, there have been 8,312 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes in England and Wales up to the beginning of this month.

The ONS’s death total since the start of the outbreak – 33,337 – is 6,495 higher that the Department of Health and Social Care’s figures during the same period.

This disparity could be partly because DHSC figures only included deaths in the community, such as care homes, for the first time at the end of April.

Further ONS data released on Monday showed that social care staff have twice the coronavirus mortality rate as others of the same age and sex. 

Last week, care home directors told Nursing in Practice that adult social care has not yet faced the peak of coronavirus infections after Covid-19 deaths in care homes nearly doubled in a week. 

RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair yesterday warned that nurses must have adequate personal protective equipment and testing before the lockdown is scaled back any further.