Care workers exposed?
We have heard a lot about the numbers of care homes in Somerset with COVID 19. The Somerset County Council scrutiny meeting last week discussed deaths in care homes in our county.
To date it appears around 37 care homes have had the virus and 25 people have died in care homes from the virus. Every death is of course a tragedy. However these are, thankfully, pretty small numbers. Indeed the general feeling from the scrutiny meeting suggested that Somerset had performed better than the nation as a whole and that there were no material issues or concerns among care home staff,
We are told PPE is no longer an issue and that patients released into care homes from hospital are routinely tested before being accepted back into a care home.
Somerset County Council reckons it has spent around £3m on adult social care over and above usual spending levels to help with the crisis.
However figures from the Office of National Statistics released today do give cause for concern. They suggest that those working in the care sector are more than twice as likely to die from the COVID 19 virus than those in the general population as a whole.
Given the large number of people in Somerset who work in the care sector this is not comfortable reading. This includes the 12,000 people who act as unpaid carers (usually to family members) giving at least 50 hours a week of care.
The ONS found that men and women of working age (16-64) working in social care, a group including care workers and home carers, both had significantly raised rates of death involving COVID-19, with rates of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 males and 9.6 deaths per 100,000 females.
This compares with instances among the working population as a whole in the UK of deaths involving COVID-19 in males of 9.9 deaths per 100,000 compared with 5.2 deaths per 100,000 females.
It should be stressed that these are figures compiled up until 20th April this year on what is still a small sample.