The number of deaths related to coronavirus and cases in care homes are falling rapidly

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The number of reported deaths with coronavirus and positive cases among Welsh care home residents has dropped dramatically in the past few weeks.

Latest data from the Welsh Government has shown that there are now around three deaths related to Covid-19 per day involving adults living in care homes. That is a significant drop on the 20 deaths per day seen during the peak in mid-January and it is now down to levels last seen in November, 2020.

Experts have claimed the successful rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, which has seen 94.6% of care home residents and 84% of care home workers given their first dose, has contributed to the improving picture.

The total number of deaths related to Covid-19 reported in January among these residents was 465 – the highest amount in a single month since the pandemic began. But in February this dropped to 162 which was also lower than November, 2020 (249) and December, 2020 (243).

Since March 16, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has been notified of 1,890 care home resident deaths with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, making up 23% of all reported deaths. The overall death rate involving all illnesses and injuries was 34% higher than those reported for the same time period in the previous 12 months.

The figures also revealed that 55 (5.2%) out of 1,048 adult care homes in Wales notified CIW of one or more confirmed cases of the virus among staff or residents in the past seven days – a sharp decrease compared to 87 (8.3%) in the seven days up to February 12.

The Welsh Government also looks at data for the past 20 days, which again demonstrates an encouraging pattern of improvement. Some 173 (16.5%) adult care homes in Wales notified CIW of one or more confirmed cases in the past 20 days, a decrease compared to 238 (22.7%) in the 20 days up to February 12.

Mario Kreft MBE, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the drop in cases and deaths was “a clear indication” that the vaccine rollout is having a major impact in helping to protect residents and staff from the deadly disease.



Mario Kreft MBE, chairman of Care Forum Wales

“But we are not out of the woods yet, far from it,” he said. “Emerging mutant strains of Covid are a real cause for concern because they are more contagious, and it’s feared the new variant from Brazil may be more resistant to the vaccine, posing a real risk to elderly, frail and vulnerable people.

“It is vitally important that we do not become complacent. We must remain hugely vigilant and I would appeal to people to adhere to all the sensible safeguards like social distancing, wearing masks and sanitising properly. Our first and most important priority is ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff so we need to adopt a cautious approach to care home visiting.”

We visited the mass vaccination centre in Splott on March 2. Here’s what staff think of the rollout and how it’s progressing:


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He said many of the outbreaks in care homes, like the many outbreaks in hospitals across Wales, had been “unavoidable”.

“It’s very clear the first wave had a great deal to do with issues in relation to testing and people who were infected but not showing symptoms coming into care homes,” he added.

“The second wave was down to a combination of very high community transmission and the new variant strain becoming the dominant factor.”

Mr Kreft admitted there remained concerns about some care home staff refusing to have the Covid-19 vaccine. While the majority have been inoculated, there were more than 6,300 (16%) still unprotected.

“I think there are general concerns about this right across Wales. Some homes are doing incredibly well, we’ve heard stories of 100% take up but others are struggling. It only takes one person to bring one of the new strains of the virus into vulnerable people. I think everybody who works in social care should, unless there’s a very good reason otherwise, get the jab and importantly be ready for a culture where we might have to have this each year for some years to come.”

He added that it was “clearly sensible” for care homes to be allowed to refuse to recruit anybody who had not been vaccinated.

“It is clear that, quite understandably, the families of residents will want assurances that the staff looking after their loved ones are vaccinated so that they are less likely to be able pass on the infection.”

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Meanwhile, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, added: “The reduction in the number of older people living in care homes who have died as a result of Covid-19 highlights the positive impact that the vaccination programme is having, and I would like to thank vaccination teams throughout Wales for all of their hard work.

“But while the figures have improved, we must remember that they still represent older people who have sadly lost their lives and my heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one. I hope that we see these numbers continuing to fall so we can be assured that older people living in care homes are protected from coronavirus and can begin to see progress to enable safe indoor visits again, given the crucial role that visits from family and friends play in the health and well-being of older people living in care homes.”

When it comes to visiting, one nominated person will be able to visit a care home resident from March 8 in England,
but there is no date for this in Wales where care home visits remain banned.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that as more people living and working in care homes were vaccinated, the Welsh Government would look again at guidance for visiting.



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