Death toll prompts searching questions on true impact of Coronavirus on care homes
There have been 11 in-service deaths of health board employees from Covid-19, the Welsh Government has confirmed – but the number of nursing and residential home employees in Wales who have died as a result of Covid-19 is unknown.
In a letter responding to a question from Plaid Cymru MS Leanne Wood, Welsh Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed that they were “not in a position to provide a full picture of nursing/residential home employees.”
Delyth Jewell MS, Shadow Minister for Public Service Transformation and the Future, said the Welsh Government “should know” these figures and questioned how they would be able to ensure care homes would be protected from the virus without knowing the full picture and the impact of Covid-19.
Ms Jewell had long called for universal testing in care homes, and tests for people coming out of hospital into care homes.
Delyth Jewell MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Public Service Transformation and the Future, said:
“To learn that 11 health board employees have died from Covid-19 is deeply tragic. The loss of these lives will have such a devastating impact on families and communities.
“Behind every number is a person, but in the case of care home workers, we do not even have a true number of how many agency staff, nursing staff and residential care home employees have lost their lives to this deadly virus.
“The Welsh Government should know these figures. They should know many care home staff have fallen to this virus. They should be able to tell us the true impact that Covid-19 has had on our care homes. And if they know these figures, they need to make them public.
“Inadequate PPE and the refusal to test all care homes residents and staff have been well publicised. Staff and residents in care homes weren’t being tested at all in the beginning - even when they were patients returning from hospital. Care home managers have since raised concerns with me that some residents who died of Covid-19 may not have had it on their death certificate because they weren’t tested.
“Without knowing the true impact the virus has had on our care homes and without understanding the seriousness of the situation, how does the Welsh Government expect to draw up a strategy to protect our care homes from a second peak?”