Deaths from coronavirus in Croydon’s care homes have reached 127, according to a report going before the council cabinet next Monday.
The figures have been compiled by Public Health England and include all deaths from the disease up to Monday, May 4. Not all the deceased have been tested for the presence of the virus, but their deaths have followed the appearance of covid-19 symptoms.
There are justifiable fears that the death toll in care homes could get much worse: Sean Fitzsimons, the Labour councillor who chairs the Town Hall scrutiny committee, described the borough’s care homes as “a ticking time bomb” during the coronavirus emergency.
In total, there have been 1,388 cases of covid-19 in the borough, with 259 deaths reported at Mayday Hospital (based on figures to May 3).
The report has been submitted by Jo Negrini, the council’s chief executive. It states, “Croydon has the largest care home market in London, with 230 care providers, 123 care homes (63 of whom support older people). As of 4 May, there were 1,560 residents in care homes across Croydon. 127 care home residents had died across Croydon due to covid-19.”
According to Negrini, this demonstrates that the borough’s care homes are “responding well”.
The figures in Negrini’s report suggest the population of the borough’s care homes at only half of the 3,000 that was discussed by Fitzsimons’ scrutiny committee as recently as March.
There have been widespread reports of staff in care homes having to work without full or adequate PPE – personal protective equipment – which might protect them from catching the virus, or spreading it.
Having failed to stockpile sufficient equipment ahead of the crisis, the council has put out several appeals for donations of PPE. School pupils and undertakers have been among those to donate equipment in Croydon.
But in her report, Negrini says, “A dedicated PPE team has been established to coordinate orders, secure supplies and distribute stock. The team are also responding to enquiries, offers of help (eg from local businesses) and requests for emergency supplies from providers…
“Despite this significant demand, the council has maintained sufficient supplies for council staff and at no stage has [sic] services been impacted by a lack of PPE…
“In addition, and where required, emergency PPE supplies have been provided to suppliers (including Care Homes, Home Care, Children’s Residential Providers & Supported Living providers), particularly in adult services. As at 28 April, 118 emergency PPE supply packs had been given to providers where stocks were low.”
It was only at the start of this week that deaths in care home caused by the virus have been included in the daily, national covid-19 government briefing. So far, 29,427 deaths have been attributed to covid-19 in the United Kingdom, the highest death toll in Europe.
It is anticipated that coronavirus deaths in care homes will continue to increase that number significantly for some weeks yet, including in Croydon.
- Click here to read Negrini’s full update on what a fine job she has been doing during the coronavirus emergency
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