More care homes in Northampton affected by coronavirus, according to latest figures

Picture: Press AssociationPicture: Press Association
Picture: Press Association | pa
Chief executive of Care England says figures across the country are 'very disappointing' and calls for greater testing

More care homes in Northampton have been affected by the coronavirus, new figures reveal.

It comes as new data suggests less than a quarter of care home residents have received a test for Covid-19 since the pandemic started, despite the Government's pledge to test every resident by “early June”.

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Public Health England data reveals 29 of the 77 care homes in Northampton had reported a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 up to May 17.

That was four more than the 25 which had reported outbreaks up to May 3, and it means that at least 38% of residential and nursing homes in the area have been hit by the virus.

PHE's data contains no indication of whether the reported outbreaks are still active.

The rate in Northampton is higher than across the rest of the East Midlands, where 33% of care homes have been affected. Across England, 38% of homes have reported cases.

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Figures from The Data Analysis Bureau and Person Centred Software – representing a sample size of 32,000 care receivers from 1,200 care homes across England, Wales and Scotland – reveal just 23% of care home residents have received a test at some point during the crisis.

The analysis said 38% of care homes have had no residents tested since the pandemic started, while just 9% of residents have been tested since May 15, when Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced his pledge for universal care home testing.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, which represents independent care providers, said the figures were "very disappointing".

“Once again, there is a mismatch in announcements from the Government and delivery on the ground," he said.

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“The sector doesn’t just need testing, but rolling testing in order that residents and staff can be checked frequently and routinely to guard against this pandemic.”

The Government has been criticised for its handling of social care during the coronavirus crisis, with claims that insufficient attention was given to the threat to care homes at the start of the outbreak, leaving them exposed to the virus.

National care home providers have also reported problems in sourcing sufficient levels of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal nearly a third of coronavirus-related deaths registered up to May 23 occurred in care homes.

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A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said of the Government's testing strategy: “We have the capacity to deliver up to 30,000 tests a day for whole care-home testing, and are currently prioritising care homes and areas with greatest need.

“We are testing all care workers and residents, whether they have symptoms or not, and since the start of the pandemic nearly 125,000 workers in care settings and over 118,000 care home residents have been tested through DHSC and Public Health England testing routes.

"We have now launched the online portal to make booking tests for staff and residents even easier.”