Hampshire health bosses warn 'we must remain vigilant' as early figures show decline in care home deaths

SOCIAL care bosses have warned ‘we must be vigilant’ as figures show the number of weekly care home deaths in Hampshire is starting to decline.

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 4:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 6:20 pm

According to the latest provisional update from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) there were 21 deaths in care homes in the Hampshire County Council area between May 16 and May 22.

This was less than the previous week when there were 47 deaths. In the week of May 2-8 there were 52.

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Provisional figures from the CQC suggest care home deaths from coronavirus are declining nationally. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for health at Hampshire County Council, said: 'This has been an exceptionally challenging time for care homes across the county, and while we are seeing positive signs in that the overall number of cases of coronavirus in care home settings is reducing, we are most definitely, not out of the woods yet.

'Our local authority run homes continue to have sufficient quantities of the correct personal protective equipment and we have been working hard to support local independent homes to access what they need, from either national supplies or locally donated kit.'

The weekly decrease is in line with the national trend as there were 874 care home deaths linked to the virus in the week beginning May 16 in England, compared to 1,448 the week before.

However, Hampshire still has the highest number of care home deaths in the country with a total of 347 since April 10.

'We also continue to ensure that stringent infection control measures remain in place, that symptomatic residents are cared for in separate areas from those who are symptom-free,’ Cllr Fairhurst said.

The same data showed in Portsmouth there were no new deaths between May 16 and 22, leaving the total since April 10 as 37.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, the city council's health cabinet member, said: 'It is encouraging to see the number of coronavirus-related deaths starting to come down in Portsmouth care homes, mirroring what is happening across the country. But we remain vigilant.

'In Portsmouth, we have excellent relationships across the health and social care system, including with local NHS organisations and private providers. It is through these strong partnerships, the hard work of care home staff and by continuing to follow government guidance, that we can maintain high levels of care during the coronavirus outbreak.'

As previously reported 30 people have died in Portsmouth council run care homes. Of these 17 were from Harry Sotnick House and 13 had died in Shearwater care home - either with symptoms or having tested positive for Covid-19

In the week of May 16 there were eight new deaths in Southampton, with a total of 44.

But carer union Unison’s South East regional secretary, Steve Torrance, added: ‘Any fall in the number of reported deaths is to be welcomed, but care staff know there is no room for complacency. While staff and the residents they care for will be cautiously optimistic, the picture is complex.

‘It is deeply worrying that more people are now dying from Covid-19 every week in Hampshire’s care homes than in its hospitals.’

Some of these provisional weekly figures increase in later data releases when more deaths in the period are notified to the CQC.

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