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Record death figures in Peterborough Care homes over Christmas

It was a a very grim Christmas for dozens of families in Peterborough this year, as the week leading up to Christmas, 14 deaths involving Covid-19 were recorded in care homes around the city – the most in a seven day period since the statistics were first produced last April. 
care home
Peterborough care home recorded highest number of covid deaths within a week in December (Picture: PA Media)

The data, published by the Office for National Statistics and provided by the care home watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), refers to deaths where the person was resident in and died in a care home. 

The number of recorded cases of Covid-19 has been increasing over the winter as the nation is hit by a second wave of the virus. The case rate in Peterborough was 367.4 per 100,000 the week leading up to December 25, according to data from the area’s public health team. 

Publicly available data from the CQC about deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes begins from April 10, last year. 

The data is compiled by care providers notifying the CQC whether a person with a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 has died in a care home. 

In that time, 56 such deaths have been recorded in the Peterborough local authority area. Previously, the highest number of such deaths recorded in a seven day period in Peterborough was seven, between April 11 to 17, at the height of the first wave. 

All care homes in Peterborough are privately run, but supported by Peterborough City Council, its public team and the county’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. 

In a statement issued to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on behalf of both Peterborough City Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, the organisations expressed their sympathy for the families and reiterated their commitment to support care homes in their response to the outbreak. 

They said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the local authority social care teams, the NHS staff and public health teams have worked jointly to offer a range of support to local care homes to manage and prevent virus outbreaks and ensure good standards of care during these challenging times. 

“Our sympathies are with the families of those care home residents we have lost, as they are with anyone who has lost someone they love or care about to Covid-19. 

“We are fully committed to helping protect care home residents going forward and ensuring that they are vaccinated against the virus as soon as possible, as well as the staff that are caring for them. Care home residents and staff are a priority group and therefore vaccinations have been taking place since December and are continuing at pace. Already hundreds of care home residents and staff in the Peterborough area have been vaccinated. 

“All care homes have regular Infection Prevention and Control training, including the correct wearing, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment. In-depth reviews of virus outbreaks have been carried out with feedback shared directly to local care homes to ensure further prevention. 

“The care homes joint team are also visiting homes to offer support and check they have safe procedures in place. We will continue to work to ensure the wellbeing of residents and staff in local care homes.” 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says it uses the term “due to Covid-19” when referring to deaths where that illness was recorded as the underlying cause of death. The ONS uses the term “involving Covid-19” when referring to deaths that had the illness mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, regardless of whether or not it is was the underlying cause. 

The ONS says the figures provided by the Care Quality Commission are provisional, and may be subject to revision as more data comes in. Figures are for persons who were resident in and died in a care home. 

The Care Quality Commision uses a different criteria of recording a death involving Covid-19 in care homes to other data provided by the ONS, and so some published data varies. 

Meanwhile, in Peterborough the latest data shows 1094 people tested positive in the last week, with 136 hospitalised and 27 deaths. At the time of writing, 14 are on ventilators. In total more than 9,000 people have now tested positive in the city.

By Robert Alexander, 

Local Democracy Reporting Service