Covid outbreaks reported in 53 Suffolk care homes
- Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN
More than 50 care homes across Suffolk are now battling coronavirus outbreaks.
According to data released by Suffolk County Council, 53 care homes across the county have outbreaks, while 34 more Covid-19 deaths have been reported.
As a notifiable disease, care homes are required to report any potential or confirmed cases of coronavirus to Public Health England (PHE).
The data covers care homes, extra care housing and supported living. An outbreak is classed as anywhere with two or more reported cases.
Despite the fact that NHS chiefs say almost all homes have now received Covid vaccinations, homes without live outbreaks cannot be jabbed due to the risk of further spreading the outbreak.
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These outbreaks comes as figures released on Tuesday revealed that since the beginning of the pandemic, 347 people have died from Covid-19 in Suffolk’s care homes.
The number of deaths per week is now similar to the peak of the first wave in April last year when 42 care home residents died in a single week.
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It means that care home deaths currently account for a third of the 1,058 total virus fatalities in Suffolk - the same as the average in England.
Nationally, there were 1,705 care home deaths recorded in the week to January 22, up from 661 a fortnight ago.
David Finch, who runs the Cephas Care group, revealed his firm recently battled a large outbreak.
“It almost certainly stemmed from the Christmas period,” he said. “We pretty much had every member of staff positive and every resident positive.
“We’d had a couple of cases back in the first wave which was much easier to contain.
"But this new variant seemed to go through the home like no-one's business, even though staff had all the correct PPE. It was very difficult."
He said the vaccine programme has stepped up after a slow start.
Prema Fairburn-Dorai, chairman of the Suffolk Association of Independent Care Providers, also said she and her staff had begun to grow anxious about when they would receive the vaccine.
“Suffolk was a bit slow to start with, and when the jabs arrived, the first people that got them were the NHS staff,” Ms Fairburn-Dorai added.
“The priority one group was care homes and staff, but it all got a bit mixed up. It was easier for hospitals to get staff done on site.”