Nearly 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes in England and Wales, ONS figures reveal

Composite of anonymous coronavirus care home
The ONS also found more than half of care homes in England had reported at least one case. Credit: PA

Nearly 20,000 deaths of care home residents in England and Wales have involved coronavirus, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A total of 19,394 deaths that occurred between March 2 and June 12 had Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate - whether as an underlying cause or not - accounting for a fifth of all deaths of care home residents this year.

The virus was the leading cause of deaths among male care home residents in England and Wales across this period - accounting for a third of all deaths.

It comes as an ONS survey of care homes in England found that more than half had experienced an outbreak of the virus.

In a study of more than 9,000 care homes in the country, the ONS found 56 per cent had reported at least one case of Covid-19 since March.

The results differ from the latest Public Health England (PHE) statistics. These state that 43 per cent of care homes in England have had an outbreak - defined as two or more suspected or confirmed cases.

Of the care homes with infections, 20 per cent of residents and 7 per cent of staff are estimated to have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the reports of care home managers.

The ONS also revealed that the first death of a care home resident involving coronavirus took place on March 6 - while in Wales the first death occurred 11 days later.

Lockdown measures for the UK were first announced on March 23.

The latest data includes all care home residents who died with coronavirus either at their care home or in hospital.

ITV News has revealed tens of thousands discharged into care homes before routine coronavirus testing in England. Credit: PA

April 17 was the deadliest day in England's care homes, with the number of deaths peaking at 515 in a single day. In Wales that date was April 12 when 26 deaths occurred.

Of the 9,081 English care homes surveyed by the NHS, several factors were identified as making the infection rates in such setting worse.

The higher the number of infected staff members and number of bank or agency staff, the higher the risk of care home residents being infected, the study found.

Staff in homes which employed bank or agency staff most or every day were 81 per cent more likely to be infected compared with those which did not use them, the ONS found.

Credit: PA

Covid-19 deaths accounted for a third of all deaths among male care home residents during the study period - the leading cause of death.

For female care home residents, dementia and Alzheimer's disease was the leading cause of death - followed by Covid-19.

Coronavirus was the leading cause of death of female care home residents aged under 80 years, but for those aged 80 years and over dementia and Alzheimer’s was the leading cause.

The latest figures push the overall care home resident death figure 32 per cent higher than the 14,658 deaths in care homes reported by the ONS on Tuesday.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Every death is a tragedy, and our deepest sympathies go out to everyone who have lost loved ones.

"We have been doing everything we can to ensure care home residents and staff are protected during this unprecedented global pandemic and the Vivaldi 1 study has proved invaluable as we further build on our understanding of this virus. "

"We announced today that we will be rolling out repeat testing for care home staff and residents across the country from Monday, to help further reduce the spread of infection in care homes."

Where in the country has been most impacted?

Of the latest, nearly 20,000, coronavirus-related deaths reported by the ONS from care homes in England and Wales:

  • the highest number of deaths, 3,222, were recorded in south-east England

  • 2,939 deaths were recorded in north-west England

  • 2,099 deaths were recorded in Yorkshire & the Humber

  • 2,079 deaths were recorded in the West Midlands

  • 2,045 deaths were recorded in London

  • 1,705 deaths were recored in Eastern England

  • 1,513 deaths were recorded in north-east England

  • 1,485 deaths were recorded in the East Midlands

  • 1,475 deaths were recorded in south-west England

  • 1,485 deaths were recorded in the East Midlands

  • the lowest number of deaths, 826, were recorded in Wales