Almost a third of residents at 22-bed care home in Essex die from coronavirus as under pressure staff fear catching bug – The Sun

A CARE home rocked by coronavirus has seen almost a third of its residents die – with strained staff now fearing they will catch the killer bug.

The 22-bed Westcliff Lodge Care Home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, has suffered a devastating outbreak.

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Director Jenny Smith revealed almost a third of residents have been killed by the disease with staff now under mounting pressure.

She told BBC Breakfast: "We're all still adjusting and trying to process the loss. The loss and the pain and the devastation.

"We have many people off sick as well with suspected COVID, so we've been under tremendous pressure.

"There's so much fear among the staff because this is a virus that affects people of all ages, and that's a really primary difference really compared to normal influenza outbreaks."

CARE HOME DEATHS

The director said tests for the disease were not "timely enough" to stop the huge number of deaths.

She added: "I feel that's an issue perhaps beyond this country's control because we didn't have the same set-up, say, as Germany.

"Even more importantly, it perhaps wasn't reliable enough because some people were tested twice and had different results."

The care home, which has room for 22 residents, has been operating for the past 30 years.

New figures released today also showed Covid-19 care home deaths had trebled in the week leading up to April 17 from 1,043 to 3,096.

It means a third of all coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now happening in care homes, the Office for National Statistics found.

But the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported 4,343 deaths of residents in homes between April 10 and 24 – the first time such figures have been published by the body.

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Pressure has been mounting on the government to release the number of care home deaths and they have now pledged to provide more reliable data on the number of victims.

Some experts believe the true number of coronavirus deaths in care homes could be as high as 7,500.

Responding to the latest figures, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “It is truly shocking to see how many of the most elderly and vulnerable in our communities have died from this dreadful disease.

“Every death from this virus is a tragedy. This is being exacerbated by the fact some social care staff and other frontline workers still lack the necessary PPE to protect themselves and the people they care for from contracting coronavirus.

“Social care is now the frontline in the fight against coronavirus and we need to do all we can to shield people in care homes and those receiving care in their own homes.

“We are also yet to see the peak of the stress on the social care system, due to the delay between hospital admissions and discharge, which will require the need to start shifting capacity across from hospitals and into the community to meet a surge in demand.”

The Department of Health yesterday confirmed the UK death toll was now at 21,092 after 360 more people lost their lives to the killer disease.

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