A COUNTY doctor has called for more to be done to tackle the ‘reservoir of infection’ in care homes after Office of National Statistics figures revealed almost half of COVID-19 deaths in Wychavon were in care homes.
Dr David Nicholl, a former parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats, is treating Covid-19 patients on the frontline at a Birmingham hospital and said care homes were a ‘worrying situation’.
According to the ONS, of the 78 deaths in Wychavon from the start of lockdown on March 23 until May 1, 37 were in care homes and a further 33 deaths were recorded in the county’s hospitals.
The 78 deaths recorded in the district is almost four times as many as the 21 recorded in New Zealand, a nation with a population of 4.4million.
“We are also nowhere near the tracking and tracing element – care homes need more attention – they are a potential reservoir of infection,” Dr Nicholl added.
Three people in the district passed away at home, according to the figures, with a further death in a county hospice.
Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston said those in care homes were among the most vulnerable people in our society, which means that they are more likely to be badly affected by a disease like Coronavirus.
“We acted quickly to protect our most vulnerable by issuing guidance on not allowing visitors into care homes and began testing staff and residents of care homes as soon as we had capacity to do so,” he said.
“We are aware of the danger of asymptomatic people continuing to work or socialise in care homes, so at the end of last month we began testing all care home residents and staff regardless of whether they have symptoms.
“The reported numbers of deaths do not, however, explain whether the virus is the major cause, a contributory factor, or simply present when a patient is dying of something else and so this must be taken into account as we process the data from care homes, whose residents are our most vulnerable.
“I want to make clear this is a virus which must be tackled by the global community. However, it’s difficult at this stage to compare international death rates. New Zealand’s efforts to control the spread of the virus have been commendable.
“We slowed the spread of the virus and eased the pressure off of our health service by introducing social distancing measures, and we are now working towards a way to save not just lives, but livelihoods too, by slowly and cautiously lifting lockdown measures.
Bromsgrove topped the list of deaths in the county with 86 residents passing away to COVID-19.