Eight care homes tackling coronavirus outbreaks as four deaths confirmed

Eight Suffolk care homes are understood to be tackling coronavirus outbreaks Picture: (AP Photo/Bern

Eight Suffolk care homes are understood to be tackling coronavirus outbreaks Picture: (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) - Credit: AP

Outbreaks of coronavirus are being tackled at eight care homes across Suffolk, it is understood.

Four deaths have been confirmed at Britten Court in Lowestoft Picture: CARE UK

Four deaths have been confirmed at Britten Court in Lowestoft Picture: CARE UK - Credit: Archant

Four residents at Britten Court Care Home in Lowestoft have died from suspected coronavirus infections, and a number of suspected cases of the illness have been reported at Beechlawn Residential Home in Ipswich.

It indicates for the first time how far Covid-19 has spread into Suffolk’s care homes, as it was announced an estimated 2,000 are affected nationally.

Care UK’s regional director for Suffolk, Phillip Steyn, said: “Sadly four residents at Britten Court have passed away from suspected coronavirus infections.

“One had been transferred to hospital, the other three were being cared for in the home. I would like to offer my condolences to their families and to thank the team at Britten Court for their continued professionalism and compassion.”

Suffolk Coastal MP and work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said the current system of recordi

Suffolk Coastal MP and work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said the current system of recording care home deaths is fair Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

MORE: Four people die from suspected coronavirus at same care homeThe news comes as the government is facing fresh questions over how it is tackling the coronavirus crisis in older people.

Currently, patients with suspected Covid-19 are only being tested for coronavirus when they get to hospital.

Major care home firms operating in Suffolk, such as Bupa and Barchester, said they were not in a position to confirm individual cases but are reporting all Covid-19 information to the relevant authorities.

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“As you can imagine it is a constantly changing picture,” said a spokesman for Barchester, which runs care homes in Ipswich and Colchester.

“In the meantime, our focus is on keeping our residents and staff safe and well.

“We are confident in the processes in our homes with all of our staff trained in infection control, and our staff have been brilliant in implementing this.

“We are following medical advice and are being supplied with the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).”

MORE: All the latest coronavirus news in your areaThe number of deaths in care homes are also only being reported once a week, and are not included in the daily death announcement.

New figures out today from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show around 10% of deaths registered up to April 3 in England and Wales were outside hospitals, with 217 taking place in care homes.

Industry bosses warned that daily death tolls are “airbrushing out” hundreds of older people who have died in the care system, as Professor Chris Whitty said outbreaks had been recorded at 92 care homes in the UK in just 24 hours.

Today, the Care Quality Commission called for a more accurate and timely picture of the effects Covid-19 is having on adult social care.

MORE: ‘I don’t sleep’ – Manager says care homes ‘are being forgotten’ in coronavirus crisisFrom this week, it will be collecting information about Covid-19 deaths from residential homes directly.

Yet Suffolk Coastal MP and work and pensions secretary Dr Therese Coffey has said she thinks the current system is fair.

She told the Today programme: “I think that the certification by doctors is happening regularly, that is being collated by the ONS and it is being published weekly by the ONS.

“I think that is a fair system of getting that picture, that unfortunate picture, across the country of where deaths are happening due to coronavirus, and I think that is a trustworthy way to go about this by the medical certificates signed off by doctors.”

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