More care homes hit by coronavirus cases in the West Midlands

More care homes in the West Midlands have been hit by coronavirus, new figures have revealed.

Care homes have seen an increase in coronavirus cases.
Care homes have seen an increase in coronavirus cases.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) showed 37 per cent of care homes in the area have been affected by the virus – with testing still a major concern.

It comes as the figures suggest less than a quarter of care home residents have been tested for the virus, despite the Government's pledge to test every resident by "early June".

A total of 28 out of 76 care homes across Wolverhampton have reported a confirmed – or suspected – case of coronavirus up to May 17, an increase of four since May 3.

In Dudley, 36 out of 95 care homes have had a reported a confirmed or suspected case up to the same date – an increase of three cases.

In Sandwell, the figure is 34 out of 86 care homes – an increase of seven cases.

A total of 34 out of 57 care homes in Walsall have reported a confirmed or suspected cases – an increase of three cases.

In Stafford, the figure is 16 out of 45 care homes which have been affected by the virus – an increase of two cases.

Figures from PHE show no indication on whether the reported outbreaks are still active, however.

It means the number of reported cases in care homes in the West Midlands – at 37 per cent – is slightly below the England average of 38 per cent.

Data from the Data Analysis Bureau and Person Centred Software showed 23 per cent of care home residents across the UK have received a test.

And only nine per cent of residents have been tested since May 15 – when Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced his pledge for universal care home testing.

Need

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

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

"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 previously been criticised for its handling of social care during the pandemic – with a lack of testing and 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.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: "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."

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