Coronavirus toll on Shropshire care homes revealed for first time

The hidden toll of coronavirus has been revealed after new figures showed that 36 people died with the virus in Shropshire care homes in the space of two weeks.

It is only eight fewer people than died with Covid-19 in the county's hospitals in the same period.

Official statistics, released for the first time, show just how the virus has impacted on care homes in both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, and how similar the death toll is to that in hospitals over the same period.

The data, which only covers two weeks of the outbreak so far, shows that in total 36 people who died between April 10 and 24 in care homes across both council areas tested positive for Covid-19.

For Shropshire there were 21 deaths, and for Telford & Wrekin there were 15.

It came before confirmed that figures on the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes and other settings will be published daily as well as the hospital death toll.

Matt Hancock said he is “very glad we are now able to publish this daily data that will keep the focus on what is happening in care homes”.

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During the same period there were 44 Covid-19 deaths of patients in the care of the county's major health trusts – 39 at Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust, four at Shropshire Community Health Trust and one at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital near Oswestry.

The figures do not indicate how many people in total have died in care homes with coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.

It is also possible that the figures for April 10 to 24 may increase as medics receive the results of more tests.

'Epicentre'

Councillor Heather Kidd, who represents Chirbury and Worthen, and is due to ask Shropshire Council's cabinet about the situation at Wednesday's meeting, said: "I feel its very important that our residents are kept in a safe environment in Shropshire and that the public are aware of the fact that coronavirus is with us – most places.

The national figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, make bleak reading with the confirmation that more than 6,500 deaths involving coronavirus have occurred in England and Wales outside of hospital.

They show that care homes notified the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of 4,343 deaths of residents in homes between April 10 and 24.

Care providers said it is clear the "epicentre of this crisis is in care homes" and that the sector is "sadly the most affected area of society in terms of deaths from Covid-19".

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group (ICG), said those in care and nursing homes who have died "deserve better".

He said: "Due to the lag in collating these figures, we do fear that the true number of people who have died in care and nursing homes since the start of coronavirus may be higher than these figures suggest. It may well be that they are increasing whilst hospital deaths are falling.

"We hope not, but it might be that the numbers will actually be higher.

"Social care providers are now on the true front line in the fight against Covid-19 and we need more support."

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