A COUNTY doctor has called for more to be done to tackle the ‘resevoir of infection’ in care homes after Office of National Statistics figures revealed more than a third of COVID-19 deaths in Worcester and Malvern 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 43 deaths in Worcester from the start of lockdown on March 23 until May 1, 14 were in care homes while in Malvern 15 of the 37 deaths in the town were recorded in care homes. A further 44 deaths were recorded in the county’s hospitals. Of these 25 were Worcester residents and 19 were from Malvern.
The 80 deaths recorded 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.
Two people in both Worcester and Malvern passed away at home, according to the figures, with a further death in a city hospice.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said every death from coronavirus was a tragedy and described the death toll in the city as ‘desperately sad’.
“I have been speaking to the local resilience forum and our councils regularly to ensure they have the support they need with testing and PPE and I am glad through a combination of international procurement and local efforts the kit being provided to the health and care sectors has continued to come through.
“I know a huge amount of effort has gone into protecting people in care homes but clearly lessons need to be learned about how around a third of the fatalities came to be in that sector.
“Coronavirus has affected different populations in different parts of the world differently and we must continue to do all we can to follow the science and learn from international best practice in dealing with it,” he added.
Bromsgrove and Wychavon topped the list of deaths in the county with 86 and 78 residents respectively passing away to COVID-19.
Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin paid tribute to those who had lost their lives and said: “I do think we need to work together globally to ensure we learn from each other about which measures have worked best. We will certainly need to learn from each and every case that has happened in the UK.”
“I would like to thank everyone in West Worcestershire who has followed Government guidelines and made such drastic changes to their lives.”