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Forty care homes in Norfolk dealing with coronavirus outbreaks

PUBLISHED: 06:30 20 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:15 21 June 2020

There are about 40 care homes in Norfolk with coronavirus cases. Pic: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

There are about 40 care homes in Norfolk with coronavirus cases. Pic: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

JONATHAN BRADY

About 40 care homes in Norfolk are currently dealing with outbreaks of coronavirus, but health bosses have said they are relieved the situation did not reach the scales they feared it could.

Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella WilkinsonLouise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

At one point, during the modelling of the impact the pandemic was likely to have on the county’s care homes, Norfolk County Council officers feared that nine out of every 10 care homes would be hit by the disease.

But the number has been closer to one in three and Dr Louise Smith, director of public health at Norfolk County Council said that had been a “relief”.

There had been concern at the pace of getting testing done in homes, but Dr Smith said the situation was now much improved.

She said: “We think we have now tested nearly every care home in the county. What we have also been doing is looking at our outbreak numbers.

James Bullion, director of adult social care at Norfolk County Council. Picture Norfolk County CouncilJames Bullion, director of adult social care at Norfolk County Council. Picture Norfolk County Council

“We were very concerned, at one point, that the number of outbreaks would rise and we are very pleased that the number has not risen as fast as feared it would.

“One in three homes has had an outbreak since the beginning, but that compared to our models that nine out of 10 would have outbreaks, so we are very relieved it did not get to that.

“We have closed a large number of the outbreaks. That has meant there have not been new cases in those homes, so we don’t think the virus in those homes any more.

“There are about 40 care homes which have open outbreaks and we are helping support those homes.”

She said it was testament to her staff and to the managers and workers in care homes that the situation had been brought to a more manageable level.

Provisional figures from the Care Quality Commission show that, between April 10 and June 12, there were 131 coronavirus-related deaths in Norfolk’s care homes and 171 in care homes in Suffolk.

James Bullion, director of adult social care at Norfolk County Council and president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, recently said the “devastating” impact of coronavirus on older people in care homes could have been avoided had it not been considered an “afterthought” by the government.

He said the government must never again leave social care exposed to a pandemic.

MORE: Do not lower your guard over coronavirus, Norfolk people warned


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