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Nearly a fifth of Cornish care homes hit by coronavirus

Nearly a fifth of Cornish care homes hit by coronavirus

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 8:06am 12th May 2020.

Nearly a fifth of care homes in Cornwall have been hit by the coronavirus, new figures show.

The Prime Minister has said that "awful" epidemics in care homes and the NHS had to be reversed, and that the emphasis on testing must remain to keep pushing infections down nationally.

Public Health England (PHE) data reveals that of the 227 care homes in Cornwall, 42 had reported a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 up to May 3rd.

It means that 19% of residential and nursing homes had been hit by the virus.

However, PHE says the data contains no indication of whether the reported outbreaks are still active.

The rate in Cornwall is lower than across the rest of the South West, where 24% of care homes have been affected so far. Across England, 33% reported cases.

coronavirus ppe

Visits to care homes from families and friends have significantly reduced during the lockdown in order to protect vulnerable residents, while inspections by the Care Quality Commission have been paused for most residences.

But separate figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal more than a fifth of coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales up to April 24 had occurred in care homes.

In his recent speech to the nation, Boris Johnson said: "We must reverse rapidly the awful epidemics in care homes and in the NHS, and though the numbers are coming down sharply now, there is plainly much more to be done.

"And if we are to control this virus, then we must have a world-beating system for testing potential victims, and for tracing their contacts."

The Department of Health and Social Care said last week that it was supporting the adult social care sector through the outbreak, following concerns that frontline care workers were struggling to access Covid-19 tests and personal protective equipment.

coronavirus

However Nicola Richards, director of care home group Palms Row Health Care, said the sector is "on a cliff edge", with homes across the UK facing closure as they spend an extra £38.6 million per week on Covid-19 costs.

"Care homes provide a vital national service and instead of being fully resourced we are facing a three-wave tsunami which could destroy the sector.

"We should have been afforded the focus, support and protection like the NHS. Sadly, care homes have taken the full force of the impact of this pandemic because of Government policy and this could yet get worse."

Nicola Richards, Palms Row Health Care

A DHSC spokesman said the Government is working "around the clock" to ensure the sector in England is getting the support it needs to tackle the pandemic.

"We have launched a comprehensive action plan and provided £3.2 billion to local authorities to help them deal with the impacts of the pandemic on public services, including adult social care."

You can find all the source data here.

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