THE number of coronavirus deaths at care homes in Worcestershire at the beginning of the pandemic can be revealed following a High Court ruling.

Senior judges have ruled sending patients with the virus back into care homes was unlawful because it "failed to take into account the risk of transmission to elderly and vulnerable residents".

Office of National Statistics data shows between March and June 2020, the period covered by the court case, there were 182 Covid related deaths in Worcestershire care homes.

The peak days of that period were April 14, when 11 residents died, and April 20, when 12 residents died. 

Worcester News:

When the pandemic hit in early 2020 patients were rapidly discharged into care homes without testing, despite the risk of asymptomatic transmission, with government documents showing there was no requirement for this until mid-April.

Two women who took legal action after their fathers died from Covid-19 – Cathy Gardner, whose father Michael Gibson died, and Fay Harris, whose father Donald died – partially succeeded in their claims against the government including then Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday, (April 27).

READ MORE: Women whose fathers died from Covid win High Court challenge against Government

The judges said it was necessary to discharge patients “to preserve the capacity of the NHS” and called the suggestion that the government should have made provision in March for testing each patient before discharge “hopeless”.

But they found it was “irrational” for the government not to have advised that asymptomatic patients should isolate from existing residents for 14 days after admission.

Matt Hancock, who was Health Secretary at the time, claimed on Wednesday after the judgment: “We ministers were not told about the asymptomatic transmission."

Worcester News:

But critics have said this doesn't stand up to analysis, given the government's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said on the BBC's Today programme on March 13, 2020: “It looks quite likely there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission”.