Call for coronavirus cases in care homes to be published to show true scale of pandemic

The number of deaths in care homes linked to coronavirus is not published in the daily figures.

The number of deaths in care homes linked to coronavirus is not published in the daily figures. - Credit: Archant

At least four deaths linked to coronavirus in North Somerset may not be captured in official estimates, new figures suggest.

The number of coronavirus deaths published by the Government each day only include cases in hospital settings, not care homes, meaning the number of cases is much higher.

Shadow social care minister Liz Kendall has called on the Government to publish daily figures of Covid-19 deaths outside hospital settings to understand ‘the true scale of the problem’.

More: Nursing homes ‘days from crisis’ due to coronavirus.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows 15 Covid-19 deaths in North Somerset were provisionally registered up to April 10.

ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.

The main Government figures however have so far been based almost entirely on the deaths of hospital patients who tested positive for the virus.

This means at least four Covid-19-related deaths in North Somerset would have been excluded from official estimates up to April 10 – equating to 27 per cent of the total figure from the ONS.

Most Read

The number of people who died of coronavirus in North Somerset’s hospitals up to April 10 was 11, according to the ONS.

Across England and Wales, there were 1,662 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the week up to April 10 which occurred outside hospitals, and 8,673 in hospitals.

The overall number of deaths in care home across the two countries doubled from 2,471 to 4,974, between the point the first Covid-19 deaths were registered and the week ending April 10.

More: Care homes refuse to admit patients without coronavirus tests.

Liz Kendall said: “This shows the terrible toll that coronavirus is having on elderly and disabled people in care homes.

“Yet these awful figures are only scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care, because they are already out of date.

“The Government must publish daily figures of Covid-19 deaths outside hospital, including in care homes, so we know the true scale of the problem.

“This is essential to tackling the spread of the virus, ensuring social care has the resources it needs and getting vital PPE and testing to care workers on the front-line.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to address the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on care homes as England’s chief medical officer admitted there would likely be a ‘high mortality rate’ in the facilities during the coronavirus crisis.