Care homes report record coronavirus outbreaks in just 24 hours - how many are there in the UK?

A record number of coronavirus outbreaks have been recorded at 92 care homes in the UK in just 24 hours (Photo: Shutterstock)A record number of coronavirus outbreaks have been recorded at 92 care homes in the UK in just 24 hours (Photo: Shutterstock)
A record number of coronavirus outbreaks have been recorded at 92 care homes in the UK in just 24 hours (Photo: Shutterstock)

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A record number of coronavirus outbreaks have been recorded at 92 care homes in the UK in just 24 hours.

Around 13.5 per cent of care homes in the UK have confirmed at least one outbreak of coronavirus, chief medical officer Chris Whitty said at a Downing Street press conference on Monday 13 April.

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How many deaths have there been outside of hospitals?

Around one in 10 coronavirus-related deaths registered up to 3 April in England and Wales took place outside of hospitals, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Out of the 406 deaths recorded, 217 of these were registered in care homes, 33 in hospices, 136 in private homes, three in other communal establishments and 17 elsewhere.

HC One, which operates more than 300 care homes across the UK, announced 311 deaths up to 8pm on 13 April, while MHA, based in Derby, recorded 210 deaths across 131 of its homes.

The figures come in the wake of calls for the government to announce the full scale of deaths outside of the NHS.

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The figures are released on a weekly basis with a ten-day time lag, with the number of hospital deaths over the same period from 3 to 11 April amounting to 3,716.

If deaths outside of hospitals were reported in government announcements, the total would be almost double at 6,235.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: "The latest comparable data for deaths involving Covid-19 with a date of death up to 3 April show there were 6,235 deaths in England and Wales.

"When looking at data for England, this is 15% higher than the NHS numbers as they include all mentions of Covid-19 on the death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.

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"The 16,387 deaths that were registered in England and Wales during the week ending 3 April is the highest weekly total since we started compiling weekly deaths data in 2005."

How many care homes are in the UK?

There are 11,300 care homes in the UK which house around 410,000 people.

Of these care homes, around 13.5 per cent are now confirmed to have at least one case of coronavirus - a jump from only nine per cent in the previous seven days.

It is feared this figure will rise again in the coming days.

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Why aren’t deaths outside of hospitals being announced?

The government’s official death toll has come under fire for only including people who have died from coronavirus in hospitals.

The figures exclude those who live in care homes or are in their own houses.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told the BBC that the daily figure was based only on hospital deaths simply because “it’s accurate and quick”.

Ms Coffey said that the figures published weekly by the ONS is a "fair" way of establishing the "unfortunate picture" of where deaths are occurring.

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Liz Kendall, Labour's shadow minister for social care, called for a change in the reporting of deaths, stating: "Ministers must publish daily figures of deaths in care homes so we know the true scale of the problem and how fast it is spreading.

"They must also ensure social care has the resources it needs and that vital personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing get to care workers on the front-line."

What is the government doing to help?

Professor Chris Whitty said that he would like coronavirus testing to be increased in care homes, as it is where a large majority of the most vulnerable people are based.

He said: “One of the things we want to do is to extend the amount of testing of people in care homes as the ability to test ramps up over the next few weeks.

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"Because clearly care homes are one of the areas where there are large numbers of vulnerable people and that is an area of risk and therefore we would very much like to have much more extensive testing."

There are also calls to improve the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for care home staff, as well as increasing testing, as the lack of both has resulted in coronavirus “running wild” in care homes, Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said.

She joined leaders from Marie Curie, Care England, Independent Age and the Alzheimer's Society in writing a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding a care package to support social care through the pandemic.

Ms Abrahams said: "The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don't matter."

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