England & Wales care home Covid deaths down by a third

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes in England and Wales has risen to 12,733, according to the latest weekly data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The tally is an increase of 1,089 on the 11,644 deaths recorded up to 15 May but 34% down on last week’s rise of 1,661 Covid care home deaths in England and Wales.

In England the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes that were registered by 22 May was 12,142, up 1,046 on the 11,096 recorded by 15 May.

In Wales the total number of care home deaths was 591 as off 22 May, up 43 on the previous week.

In total, a total of 43,837 deaths involving Covid-19 were registered in England and Wales between 28 December 2019 and 22 May 2020, up 2,617 from 41,220 up to 15 May.

Data complied by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) meanwhile showed 531 deaths from Covid-19 in England in the week up to 29 May and a total of 11,186 deaths.

Whereas the ONS reports deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the CQC notifications rely on the statement of the care home provider that Covid-19 was suspected or confirmed.

The Care Inspectorate Wales meanwhile recorded 462 deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes in Wales between 17 March and 29 May, of which 35 occurred in the week up to 22 May.

Representative body Independent Care Group (ICG) said it is vital that the country keeps up the pressure on the virus amid the declining death rate.

“Today’s figures are welcome but we must not become complacent and let coronavirus take hold again,” said ICG chairman Mike Padgham.

“We have all worked so extremely hard to get Covid-19 under control, it would be a tragedy if we took our foot off the gas now and let a second spike happen,” he added.

Social Care Institute for Excellence chief executive Kathryn Smith (pictured) said: “This is great news but we must treat it as a golden opportunity to make sure we get things right – and don’t repeat the mistakes that happened when the country first went into lockdown.

“We need guarantees on regular testing, the use of and training on using PPE equipment and an undertaking that hospitals aren’t discharging people with Covid-19 into care homes. We cannot have care homes and other care settings once again becoming incubators for infection.”

Smith added: “And it’s also a good opportunity to make sure that care and support links with health in a national, co-ordinated way, so that people also have the best experiences and outcomes in the long-term, not just during the pandemic.”