Nearly a third of residents at Essex care home die from Covid-19

Nearly a third of residents at 22 bed Essex care home die from coronavirus as boss reveals staff feel under ‘tremendous pressure’ and fear catching killer infection

  • Nearly third of Westcliff Lodge Care Home residents in Essex died from Covid-19
  • Director of care Jenny Smith revealed devastating impact coronavirus is having
  • ONS statistics show gap of more than 7,000 victims in official daily count when care home and non-hospital deaths are included
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Nearly a third of residents at a 22 bed Essex care home have died during the coronavirus pandemic as its boss revealed staff feel under ‘tremendous pressure’ and fear catching the killer infection. 

It comes after the care home sector has seen a rapid escalation in the number of deaths with care homes bosses blaming the climbing death toll on a ‘reckless stiff broom’ policy to send back hundreds of elderly Covid-19 patients to free up hospital beds last week.

Director of care at Westcliff Lodge Care Home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, Jenny Smith, revealed the devastating impact coronavirus is having at the care home. 

Nearly a third of residents at Westcliff Lodge Care Home, Essex, have died from coronavirus

Director of care Jenny Smith revealed devastating impact coronavirus is having at care home

‘We’re all still adjusting and trying to process the loss,’ she told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

‘The loss and the pain and the devastation. We have many people off sick as well with suspected Covid, so we’ve been under tremendous pressure.

‘There’s so much fear among the staff because this is a virus that affects people of all ages, and that’s a really primary difference really compared to normal influenza outbreaks.’

It was revealed earlier today that Britain’s coronavirus outbreak may have killed 53 per cent more people than daily Government statistics let on, meaning thousands of victims are still uncounted.

Weekly data released on Tuesday showed that deaths outside of hospitals pushed England’s death toll to 21,284 for April 17, a significant rise on the 13,917 announced on that date by the Department of Health.

If the same increase – 52.9 per cent – were applied to the total death toll announced yesterday (21,092) it could mean the real number of victims is 32,249.

Office for National Statistics data, which gives a weekly picture of how many people have died outside of hospitals, recorded 3,096 care home deaths in the week from April 11 to April 17. This was almost triple the 1,043 announced the week before.

Backdated death data which includes suspected coronavirus cases and those who die outside of hospitals shows the toll of Britain’s outbreak is significantly higher than Department of Health data lets on

Office for National Statistics shows a difference of 53 per cent between the daily death counts and the backdated information it releases once a week

Many of those who die outside of hospitals are not tested for the coronavirus while alive, meaning this data shows Britain’s outbreak is much larger than it appears. Some are never officially diagnosed and are only suspected to have had the illness.

Last week care home bosses blamed the sector’s soaring death toll on government guidance telling hospitals to discharge elderly residents to free up beds. 

The plan, drafted on March 17, told NHS hospitals that ‘timely discharge’ was important – and told care homes to accept patients who had not even been tested for coronavirus.

On the testing of residents, Jenny Smith added: ‘Of course it wasn’t timely enough.

‘But I feel that’s an issue perhaps beyond this country’s control because we didn’t have the same set-up, say, as Germany.

‘Even more importantly, it perhaps wasn’t reliable enough because some people were tested twice and had different results.’

The UK has 157,149 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 21,092 deaths from the illness had been recorded at the time of publication. 


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