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UK care home deaths from COVID-19 double in week


Press Trust of India London
The coronavirus death toll in care homes for the elderly and vulnerable in England and Wales has doubled in a week as 4,343 fatalities were reported in the past two weeks, according to weekly figures released on Tuesday.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data takes the overall death toll from COVID-19 beyond the 21,092 hospital deaths reported so far under the official government figures.
The data covers figures from healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the first time and covers the fortnight to April 24.
From April 10 to 17, the CQC were notified of 1,968 deaths and between April 10 and April 24 of 4,343 deaths this is a rise of 2,375 in a week.
"This data clearly shows us the importance of tracking the impact of COVID-19 beyond hospitals. It is essential we know what is happening in care homes and wider communities," said Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the UK's National Care Forum, which had conducted its own research earlier to demand a ring of steel around care homes.
"The numbers revealed today make it more important than ever that we build a ring of steel' around care homes. They need the right PPE (personal protective equipment), medical monitoring devices, rapid and comprehensive testing, proper funding and intensive research to safeguard the people they care for, she said.
The forum warned that even now this is not real time daily data and is not being included in the overall daily figure quoted by the government to understand the severity and trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government's figures only cover hospital deaths as the remaining data is collated on a weekly basis after death certificates specifying the cause of death are issued.
The ONS figures also show that the total number of people dying in the UK from all causes in hospitals and the community is double what the average for this time of year.
The latest figures indicate that once data is collated for all parts of the United Kingdom, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, the overall COVID-19 death toll for the UK could be well over 25,000.

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First Published: Apr 28 2020 | 6:09 PM IST

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