CORONAVIRUS deaths in some Worcestershire care homes have reached double figures – but the county is coping better than other parts of the country, says a health watchdog chief.

According to official statistics, 30 people had died of Covid-19 in Worcestershire care homes up to May 1 – although the figure is likely to be higher, as for many weeks care home deaths were not included in the data published by Public Health England.

Simon Adams, managing director of the watchdog Healthwatch Worcestershire, said: “I have heard from people working in the industry that some Worcestershire care homes have seen the death rate reach double figures.

“It is definitely a concern both nationally and locally, however it does not appear as though Worcestershire care homes are being pressured into accepting patients from hospitals, and the picture locally is a lot better overall than in other parts of the country.

“Staff report having enough PPE to last but they are always wondering where next week's will come from. Due to these concerns we felt that we needed to seek assurance from the county council about the situation in care homes in Worcestershire.

“We have written to the council’s chief executive asking for information on a range of issues relating to care and nursing homes and the domiciliary care sector, including how relevant government guidance was being implemented”

There have been 8,312 deaths in care homes in England and Wales where coronavirus was written on the death certificate, according to the latest Office for National Statistics.

This represents a quarter of all deaths associated with the virus.

St John's in Droitwich has seen the loss of life first hand in its Shaw Healthcare home in St Peter’s Walk.

Mike Smith, the chief operating officer said: “Sadly, we can confirm that we have had a small number of residents pass away after testing positive for Covid-19.

“I’m very pleased to say that we also have residents who have recovered and that are currently Covid-19 free at St Johns.

“We are immensely proud of our amazing frontline care teams who are working incredibly hard to deliver the kind of care you would want for your loved ones even in these extremely challenging times.

“We have sufficient PPE supplies and continue to work with our healthcare partners to ensure our stock levels and the safety of our residents are never compromised.

“Our thoughts and condolences go to the families and loved ones of the residents who have sadly passed away including everyone else who has been affected by this terrible outbreak.

“We hope that everyone abides by the national guidelines and stays safe to best protect each other as the situation unfolds.”

Earlier this week the prime minister announced a further £600million to fight infections in care homes in England, after admitting there had been a “terrible epidemic” and that the final death rate figures in the UK would be “stark and deeply horrifying”

Worcestershire County Council has said the number of care homes with active coronavirus cases is stabilising.

Elaine Carolan, director of adult services at Worcestershire County Council, said: “We know that sadly, many families have lost loved ones during the pandemic and we want to express our deepest condolences.

“The number of care homes with active Covid-19 cases is now stabilising. A robust mechanism for testing and monitoring care homes is now in place and there is ongoing support to ensure care staff are appropriately trained, and have the PPE they need.

"All care homes have also received a range of financial support and the county council is ensuring that staffing levels are supported when needed.

“We appreciate that this is an extremely difficult time for all care staff. The county council is doing everything it can to support key workers and for their dedication and commitment, we are extremely grateful.”

Peter Pinfield, chairman of Healthwatch Worcestershire, said the figures locally and nationally were ‘horrific’ and people were rightfully concerned about the lack of communication and data surrounding coronavirus cases at residential care homes.