Care home coronavirus deaths ‘could be double the number reported’

Coronavirus deaths in care homes could be double the number already reported, the Government has said.

The Department of Health also feared a “significant rise” in deaths not related to Covid-19 among residents, it said on Wednesday.

There were 1,043 coronavirus deaths in care homes in England and Wales by April 10, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In a statement with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Government said: “It is anticipated that the number of deaths in care homes relating to Covid-19 reported by providers between April 11 and April 15 could be double the number of care home deaths reported yesterday.

“In common with the ONS, CQC’s preliminary analysis also indicates there may be a significant rise in non-Covid-19 deaths.”

One scientist thinks care home deaths as a proportion of the national total may keep increasing, even as the NHS sees a decline.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford previously said: “The proportion of deaths might drop in hospitals but the proportion of deaths may go up overall in nursing homes.”

He added: “Particularly in the frail and the vulnerable and the elderly, this will be a debilitating disease.”

HEALTH Coronavirus ONS
HEALTH Coronavirus ONS

The news comes after one care home boss said some protective equipment was now more than 24 times more expensive than it was before the pandemic.

Joyce Pinfield, a director at the National Care Association, told the PA news agency: “Just for basic surgical masks we used to be paying something like 9p each plus VAT, at the moment it can range up to £2.20 per mask.”

Ms Pinfield said providers were paying thousands of pounds for deliveries that would only last a few days.

She explained: “If you are unlucky enough to have people that need this protective equipment all the time because they have got the virus within the care home, they can be using 10 masks per day.

“I have friends of mine who have been spending about £8,000 every 10 days just purely on masks.”