Almost one third of care homes across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have reported outbreaks of coronavirus, government data has revealed.
Public Health England figures show there were a total of 119 suspected or confirmed Covid-19 outbreaks reported in homes across the region between March 9 and May 10.
This means 32 percent of the 368 registered care homes in the region have had cases since the pandemic began.
Ashfield has recorded the greatest total number of homes reporting an outbreak in Nottinghamshire county, with 19 sites informing PHE they have registered positive tests.
This includes Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston, which has reported 13 deaths from the virus at its site since the pandemic began.
The 54-bed nursing home started to see the devastating effects of coronavirus on March 25 when nine patients aged between 71 and 91 died.
Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston.
(Image: Nottingham Post/ Ian Hodgkinson)
Four further patients have since died, and manager Anita Peat says homes have been facing a tough task since the pandemic began.
“The guidance care homes have received has been appalling”, she told Nottinghamshire Live.
“If you read the guidance around care homes and admissions from hospitals, it still says we can admit Covid-positive people and that there is no need to isolate people in zoned areas. That is a load of nonsense.
“We initially followed the government guidance even though we didn’t understand what it was saying, but we came to realise it wasn’t working.
“If care homes hadn’t taken people out of hospital with Covid then there would not have been the problem of Covid in care homes, yet that’s what we were encouraged to do.”
It comes as Office for National Statistics data released on Tuesday, May 19, shows the total number of Covid-19 deaths registered in England and Wales stands at 37,375 – including 9,762 in the care setting between April 10 and May 15.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chairman of the National Care Association, says all care-related Covid-19 figures are “heartbreaking”.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chairman of the National Care Association, told Nottinghamshire Live the situation has been “challenging” for the sector.
“The problem is that the response across the board has been reactive”, she said.
“Many providers have been doing things before being told to do so, and the movement of patients from hospitals into the care setting has been challenging.
“In hindsight everyone should be tested before being moved back into the care setting, and it is possible to say that larger outbreaks are a result of this issue.
“The figures themselves are heartbreaking to look at, any death is premature and outbreaks are avoidable.”
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Across Nottinghamshire, the Public Health England data shows the amount of cases registered in care homes county-wide is similar to the percentage in Ashfield.
Gedling and Broxtowe care homes have been the worst affected, with 42 percent of homes in each borough reporting an outbreak – 15 and 13 respectively.
In Mansfield, eight homes, or 20 percent of all homes in the district, have reported outbreaks, while 12 Newark and Sherwood homes (29 percent), 14 Rushcliffe homes (33 percent) 11 Bassetlaw sites (26 percent) have also had cases.
Melanie Brooks, corporate director for adult social care and health at Nottinghamshire County Council, confirmed the figures are correct and says virus testing for patients and staff will commence over the coming weeks.
“We are working closely with our health colleagues to make sure infection control is a priority in care homes”, she said.
“Work has now begun to test staff and residents in care homes over the coming weeks and we will be able to provide additional staffing should it be needed during this time.”
In Nottingham city, 35 percent of care homes have reported an outbreak, or 27 sites. This includes the council-run The Oaks and Cherry Trees homes.
A nurse looks through a window of a closed door leading to the red zone at Wren Hall nursing home
A spokesperson for Nottingham City Council says the authority has been supporting care providers throughout the pandemic.
“All residents receive appropriate treatment and the homes remain in isolation for the safety of our residents and carers”, the spokesperson said.
“We are also providing personal protective equipment and training staff how to use it, providing emergency on-call help when needed, and our Infection Prevention Control (IPC) team is working with care homes to complete risks assessments and give advice on how to manage and minimise outbreaks.”