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Coronavirus: Number of deaths in Cambridgeshire care homes reaches 27

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The number of deaths from Covid-19 in Cambridgeshire care homes is unknown (34014392)
The number of deaths from Covid-19 in Cambridgeshire care homes is unknown (34014392)

There were 27 deaths involving Covid-19 in Cambridgeshire care homes between April 10 and April 24, the Official for National Statistics has said.

The number of hospital deaths involving the virus in each area, including in Cambridgeshire’s hospitals, has been known for weeks, with data published regularly.

But despite widespread fears over deaths in care homes, less information has been made public.

Data on the number of deaths in England’s care homes reported to the Care Quality Commission was published by the ONS on today (Tuesday, April 28), and is broken down by local authority area.

The CQC said the death toll in care homes nationwide has been “devastating”.

There was one death involving Covid-19 in a care home in Cambridgeshire up to April 10 – in Huntingdonshire – according to ONS figures.

The latest information shows there have been 10 deaths involving Covid-19 in Peterborough and 17 in the rest of Cambridgeshire between April 10 and 24.

The ONS said the figures may be an underestimate due to notification delays.

The figures are for people “who were resident in and died in a care home”.

Nationwide there were 4,343 such deaths in the same period.

The CQC said: “In addition to deaths which are directly attributable to Covid-19, there has been a significant rise in non-Covid-19 deaths. This is of particular concern and CQC will be exploring the factors that may be driving this with adult social care trade associations, DHSC, PHE and NHSE to ensure timely action is taken to safeguard people. This work will also inform the ONS’ longer-term research project on non-Covid-19 deaths during the pandemic.”

In the same period, there were a total of 40 deaths in care homes in Peterborough and 101 in the rest of Cambridgeshire attributed to all causes of death.

The CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, Kate Terroni, said: “Every death in today’s figures represents an individual tragedy for those who have lost a loved one – and for those who cared for them.

“We will continue to support care home managers as they do everything they can to keep people safe, but it is clear that more support is needed, from every part of the system, as social care staff go to extraordinary lengths to protect those in their care.”

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner had expressed his concerns about what was happening within the care home sector last week, when backing Labour leader Keir Starmer’s analysis of personal protective equipment (PPE) problems.

Mr Zeichner said that he had been told by a Cambridge care home manager of the supply chain problems for PPE, and heard from a care home worker that the virus was spreading through the building they were working in but that they did not feel properly or adequately equipped or protected.

A healthcare support worker had also expressed concerns to the MP that their PPE was inadequate.

“These are deeply worrying first hand accounts,” said Mr Zeichner.

“Every day frontline workers are being forced to risk their lives because they don’t have the proper protective equipment.

“The government must sort out the PPE crisis urgently, not by standing at podiums and announcing huge numbers and targets, but by setting manufacturers to work on making what we need.

“This is a monumental government failure and afterwards we will need to learn lessons as this must never be allowed to happen again. Our NHS, social care and key workers deserve so much better than this.”

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