Around one in four care homes across Lancashire have had at least one suspected case of coronavirus amongst their residents, according to new figures. The data, released by the Labour opposition group on Lancashire County Council, is based on official returns by care home providers.
This new data shows that 145 homes have reported cases, although not all may not have been confirmed by a test. This confirms the continuing national concern that the spread of Covid-19 in the care home sector has been severely underestimated. Lancashire County Council (LCC) says that it has been offering support to operators to help them deal with the challenges of the current pandemic. This assistance includes the provision of funds for a multi-million pound purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) – the organisation co-ordinating LCC’s Covid-19 response, as previously reported by Lytham St Anne’s News (16.04.2020)
Meanwhile, our MP Mark Menzies has been pro-active in asking the Secretary of State for Health for assurances over care home residents and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Menzies said: ‘I’ve been in touch with several care home owners in Fylde and they had concerns over shielding their residents following hospital discharges, and the provision of PPE equipment and equipment training. These are the most vulnerable people in this pandemic and we have to do everything in our power to protect them. I have written to the Secretary of State to ask for assurances after I was told there were concerns over elderly people returning to care homes from hospital.
We must have ‘drop down’ facilities for people to move into, and I am pleased to hear following my letter that such a facility is being opened on the University of Central Lancashire’s sports ground. Recovering residents leaving hospital will be taken to this facility for further testing to ensure they are not put back into a care home and be capable of infecting others.’
Today (26.04.2020) the BBC reported that had have contacted 210 care home providers, 159 said that none of their workers had been screened for coronavirus. Some told how care home staff face long journeys to test centres, with one reporting a three hour round trip.