Public Health England (PHE) have revealed that 43,398 COVID-positive people were sent into care homes in the first ten months of 2020
In a 7-hour long session with a select committee, former Special Advisor Dominic Cummings brought up countless, startling accusations and insights into the functioning of the UK Government throughout the early days of the global health crisis.
While many of these claims will possibly influence how the population views decision-making at the highest level of Government, the rest can be translated into questions that must be answered. The Labour Party has been calling for a full, public enquiry in June, to look into the events that led to over 150,000 deaths in the fifth richest country in the world.
One key area of interest is the chain of events that led to care homes, with the most virus vulnerable residents, to purposefully be filled with COVID-positive people.
In August 2020, a report by The Queen’s Nursing Institute found that care homes were given blanket orders to label their residents as Do Not Resuscitate. This move came without any family consultation, and had to then be undone by individual interventions into each case. Over in the US, care home deaths could be linked to racial differences – prompting this study by The University of Chicago, which uncovered patterns about health outcome in connection to the wealth of the surrounding neighbourhood.
New information from PHE
Now, PHE have released a report looking at the COVID-related deaths in care homes, from January to October, 2020. In this document, they reveal that 43,398 COVID-positive individuals were knowingly sent back into the care homes they came to hospital from.
Their analysis examined a total of 514,428 laboratory confirmed COVID-19 positive tests
reported from 30 January to 12 October. They found that 8.4% of care home residents were registered positive, with a further 35,760 individuals being linked to a care home virus outbreak. Atleast 286 individuals died as a result of hospital ‘seeding’ – which essentially means sending positive COVID cases back into large, closely packed vulnerable groups.
PHE suggest that the impact was relatively small, contributing to 1.6% of all care home outbreaks – which were mostly happening March to April, 2020.
The report further commented: “Whilst our analysis identified relatively small numbers of outbreaks potentially seeded from hospital-acquired infections, the potential for their preventability and the ensuing impact on the care homes, their residents, families and staff must be fully acknowledged.”
However, the report also explains that there is a six-week data lag in reporting positive cases in care homes. For example, it was found that 10% which are recorded without an address – removing them from the analysis by default.