At least seven people have died with coronavirus in Southwark care homes in a period covering two weeks, new data reveals.
The stats, released by the Office for National Statistics this week, reveal that care homes in Southwark saw seven Covid-19 related fatalities for the two-week period up to April 24.
The real figure may yet be higher, as this is based on care homes notifying coronavirus-related fatalities to the Care Quality Commission, the watchdog which regulates homes.
The data only covers deaths of residents who died in a care home only, and not those receiving other similar forms of adult social care such as assisted living.
Deaths of all causes in the same period in homes in Southwark is logged as fourteen – meaning coronavirus fatalities account for half of the deaths in total.
The borough has twenty care homes, of which five have reported an outbreak to the CQC.
Council leader, Cllr Peter John, called for more effective testing in care homes for residents and staff.
Speaking before health secretary Matt Hancock announced government plans to allow testing for all care home residents, Cllr John said the numbers sadly did not suprise him, and that it may even be higher in reality.
“We know because of the vulnerable nature of people who live in care homes, that we if we get one case in a home then that has the capacity to spread very quickly,” he said.
“It might even be higher. That’s why it’s critical that we get testing into our care homes as soon as possible.”
The CQC has recorded coronavirus-fatalities in care homes across all London boroughs during the two-week reporting period.
447 coronavirus deaths were found in London care homes in total. Nationally, 4,343 deaths were recorded with coronavirus.
The government said on Tuesday that it would now publish daily totals of care home deaths due to Covid-19, after pressure from operators and opposition politicians.
“Building on successful pilots, we will be rolling out testing of asymptomatic residents and staff in care homes in England, and to patients and staff in the NHS,” said Mr Hanock.
“This will mean that anyone who is working or living in a care home will be able to get access to a test whether they have symptoms or not.
“The spread of the virus though care homes is absolutely a top priority.”