Search

New figures show impact of coronavirus in care homes

PUBLISHED: 05:40 09 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:15 09 May 2020

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Archant

Suspected or confirmed coronavirus outbreaks have occurred in 25pc of care homes in Norfolk, new figures have revealed.

New data from Public Health England (PHE) showed 88 outbreaks occurred across Norfolk’s 348 care homes between March 9 to April 27.

The figures, which are based on reports of infectious diseases to Public Health England, equates to 25.3pc of the area’s care homes reporting a suspected or confirmed outbreak - ranking Norfolk the 23rd lowest in the country - and lower than the national average of 33pc.

In addition, Great Yarmouth ranked 16th lowest overall of the 315 local authorities after recording just six confirmed or suspected outbreaks up to April 27.

In Suffolk, the county was 103 out of 150 and by local authority district ranked the fourth highest with Ipswich seeing 70.8pc of homes reporting cases.

South Norfolk MP Clive Lewis has spoken out on the latest Public Health England figures. Picture: UK Parliment OfficalSouth Norfolk MP Clive Lewis has spoken out on the latest Public Health England figures. Picture: UK Parliment Offical

Read more: 18 new coronavirus deaths in Norfolk care homes

Responding to the figures Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk, said the numbers were likely to grow with more testing occurring.

Dr Smith said; “Sadly, yes we do believe that these figures will grow. The number of people with Covid19 in settings such as care homes is still rising in Norfolk, as it is nationally. We are also increasing the number of tests we are doing, which will lead to an increase in confirmed cases.

“It is likely that the number will increase further as more testing has been done in the past two weeks, and the number of cases has been rising week on week.

“Protecting vulnerable people with higher health and care needs such as those in nursing and residential homes is a top priority for the NHS and for social care.”

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Stuart AndersonDuncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The data also show the first suspected or confirmed reports of coronavirus occurred in care homes on March 16.

Read more: Revealed: Coronavirus death rates, with Norwich the lowest in England and Wales

While Great Yarmouth posted a low percentage of outbreaks at 14pc, the Breckland area was the highest in Norfolk with 37.7pc of its care homes recording a suspected or confirmed outbreak. In Broadland the figure was 21pc, 25pc in Lynn and West Norfolk, 20pc in North Norfolk and 30pc in Norwich and South Norfolk.

You may also want to watch:

Dr Smith said there was no evidence at this stage to explain the differences between areas of the region.

She said: “We know that East Coast Community Healthcare have been working hard to support local providers and have been visiting homes to take tests. The difference may be due to lower rates in the general population compared to the West of the County, but it is difficult to say conclusively.”

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, said the figures indicated the county was quick to act, but the focus had to be on protecting the area’s most vulnerable.

Mr Baker said: What is shows me is that Norfolk has been really good at keeping on top and contain the spread of the virus.

Read more: ‘We can only do so much’: Care homes tell of battle to protect residents and staff

While Great Yarmouth posted a low percentage of outbreaks, the Breckland area was the highest in Norfolk with 37.7pc of its care homes recording a suspected or confirmed outbreak.

Dr Smith said there was no evidence at this stage to explain the differences between areas of the region.

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, said the figures indicated the county was quick to act, but the focus had to be on protecting the area’s most vulnerable.

Mr Baker said: What is shows me is that Norfolk has been really good at keeping on top and contain the spread of the virus.

“All of our efforts are going to be focused on making sure we keep that rate low.

“We must make sure the care homes get everything they need, PPE and make sure they are tested.

“We mustn’t be complacent, we must not let up and slip up and see an increase. We have to keep on the message and follow government guidelines as hard as we have been doing.”

But Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said government policies have been “jeopardising” older people and the staff that care for them.

Mr Lewis said: “For weeks, exerts have been raising the alarm that the government’s monomaniacal focus on trying to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed has been pushing an equally significant and lethal burden onto care homes.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press