Care homes account for 20 per cent of all coronavirus-related deaths in Dacorum

Care home residents had accounted for a fifth of all coronavirus-related deaths in Dacorum by the end of May, new figures reveal.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 8:38 am
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 8:40 am

Office for National Statistics data shows that in Dacorum, 110 deaths involving Covid-19 were provisionally registered up to May 30.

Of those, 28 occurred outside hospital – including 22 in care homes and three at private homes. A further three deaths occurred in hospices, other community establishments or elsewhere.

It means care homes accounted for 20 per cent of all Covid-19 fatalities up to May 30.

Coronavirus stock image

The figures include deaths that occurred up to May 22 which were registered up to eight days later.

ONS data is based on where Covid-19 is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate.

Although statistics show weekly Covid-19 fatalities across the UK are falling, scientists say the high overall death rate is because the coronavirus epidemic started earlier than predicted, with care homes poorly protected.

A Public Health England review into disparities around the risk of coronavirus has identified age as the biggest factor, with pensioners aged 80 or older 70 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those under 40.

Across England and Wales, more than 44,000 deaths involving Covid-19 were provisionally registered up to May 30. Of those, 36 per cent occurred outside hospital – the majority in care homes.

Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, told the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee he was “shocked” at how badly care home populations were protected globally.

“I, like many people, am shocked about how badly European – or countries around the world – have protected care home populations,” he said.

Asked about what could be done in future, he said: “If we had done a better job, or did do a better job, of reducing transmission in closed institutions like hospitals and care homes, we would have a little bit more room, wiggle room as it were.

“The infections in care homes and hospitals spilled back into the community, more commonly from the people who work in those institutions."

Professor Matt Keeling, of the University of Warwick, suggested to the committee that modellers “dropped the ball” on care homes early in the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s very easy to say we know care homes and hospitals are these huge collections of very vulnerable individuals, so maybe with hindsight we could have modelled those early on and thought about the impacts there," he said.

"I think the models offered our best estimates of what could happen in the short-term. Long-term predictions are much, much more difficult.”

The number of deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales reached its lowest weekly level for seven weeks towards the end of last month, ONS data shows.

There were 2,589 deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales registered in the week ending May 22.

In Dacorum, in the week up to May 30:

- Deaths outside hospital increased by two, climbing to a total of 28

- Hospital deaths increased by two to 82

- The overall death toll climbed by four, compared to a rise of five in the previous week