Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Care home Covid deaths hit highest levels since April peak
2 February 2021, 10:56
Weekly Covid-19 deaths in care homes have passed 2,000 and hit the highest level since the end of April, new statistics have shown.
In the week ending January 22 in England and Wales, there were 2,364 deaths of care home residents involving Covid-19.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said this included residents who died in care homes, hospitals and other settings.
This is up 37.5% from the previous week, and is the highest weekly number since the week ending May 1.
The latest weekly figure is also more than three times the 745 care home resident deaths registered in the week ending December 31.
A total of 33,215 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate, the ONS said.
Separate Care Quality Commission data shows it was notified of 2,357 deaths of care home residents involving Covid-19 in the week ending January 29.
This is similar to the 2,366 notifications it received in the week ending January 22.
Overall, there were 8,422 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending January 22 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
This is up 16.2% from the 7,245 deaths in the week to January 15.
Nearly half (45.1%) of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to January 22 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate - the highest proportion recorded during the pandemic.
The news comes as door-to-door testing blitz of 80,000 people in England is underway to find "every single case" of the South Africa coronavirus variant.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was "on all of us" to contain the new variant, which is feared to be spreading in communities.
Urgent Covid-19 tests are being carried out in eight areas of England as the number of cases of the South Africa variant rose to 105 to date.
Mobile testing units and home testing kits will be deployed to areas where the variant has been discovered as the UK Government looks to prevent it getting a foothold.
Two people in Surrey and one in Kent were among the 11 individuals who were found to have tested positive for the variant, despite having no links to travel or previous cases of the strain.
So far, over 100 cases of the strain have been identified to date across the UK, but this is the first sign of wider community spread. There is currently no evidence that the variant causes more severe illness.
Door-to-door testing will begin in Surrey but will also take place in London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Walsall.