More than 4, 351 people in care homes across England and Wales died from Covid – in a fortnight, according to official figures which show a sharp increase in mortality outside hospitals.
The latest figures mean that more than 27, people have died across the UK after contracting coronavirus.
Data gathered by the care homes regulator,, published for the first time on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics, showed that from 13 – 25 April care homes reported 4, 343 deaths from coronavirus.
Half of them came in the last five days, indicating an accelerating death toll.
It marks a sharp rise in the official death toll in care homes, which stood at 1, (up to) (April.)
The ONS cautioned that the figures, gathered from death certificates by the Care Quality Commission, may yet be an underestimate because of reporting delays. Care home operators have said the outbreak in care homes is still not at its peak .
Figures gathered by the Guardian from the largest care home chains have shown rises in the number of fatalities from Covid – in residential and nursing homes of between % and % in the last one to two weeks.
Sam Monaghan, the chief executive of MHA, the largest charitable operator of care homes, which has lost 294 residents to confirmed or suspected coronavirus, said the figures were starting to show “what we have known for some weeks now, that care homes are sadly the most affected area of society in terms of deaths from Covid – 19 ”
Vic Rayner, the chief executive of the National Care Forum, said the figures showed “the very urgent need for a daily tracking of all Covid – deaths as a key priority for the government ”and called for a“ ring of steel ”around care homes.
“They need the right PPE equipment, medical monitoring devices, rapid and comprehensive testing, proper funding and intensive research to safeguard the people they care for,” she said. “This virus is not going away – this data shows that the‘ whatever it takes ’mantra must be applied urgently to protect the most vulnerable in social care, as we have to the NHS.”
ONS data has to be certified by a doctor, registered and processed, so is usually published approximately 14 days in arrears.
Labor said the figures showed “the appalling impact Covid – is having people who use social care.
Liz Kendall, shadow minister for social care, wrote to the health secretary Matt Hancock calling for “whatever it takes” resourcing for care homes to tackle the pandemic, guaranteeing PPE for care workers and priority testing for the virus, close to their homes.
She urged him to use spare NHS capacity, including the Nightingale hospitals, to receive people discharged from hospital with a positive Covid – 19 diagnosis rather than sending them into care homes, and also to accept coronavirus sufferers from care homes that are struggling to cope.
Internationally, the proportion of Covid – – related deaths in care homes ranges from (% to) ,%, according to
In Ontario, Canada, more than 70% of deaths have taken place in care homes, according to the International Long Term Care policy network. Fifty-three per cent of Belgium’s Covid – 25 deaths happened in care homes, according to figures on April. In France, figures published on Saturday (April showed) % of deaths occurred in care homes, while a further 14% lived in care homes but died in hospital. Figures from last week suggest the percentage is (% in Ireland and) % in Madrid.
The ONS data released on Tuesday also showed the increasing impact on deaths from non-Covid – causes as a side-effect of the UK’s response to the pandemic.
Covid – 24 deaths drove up the total number of deaths in England and Wales to , for the week to 20 April – 19, 2019 higher than the five-year average and the highest recorded for years when comparable records began.
The number of so-called “excess deaths” not attributed to Covid – was 3, in the week ending April up from 1, 5610 the week before. These fatalities may be occurring because of reduced treatment of chronic illnesses such as cancer so the NHS could make room for more intensive care provision for coronavirus patients, as well as ill people being reluctant to attend hospital.
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