There have been a total of 172 suspected COVID-19 related deaths in care homes across Herts between March 20 and April 14, the county council have revealed.
The news comes as it emerged that 19 residents at the 65-bed Lancaster Court Care Home (pictured) in Leavesden have died since the start of the pandemic.
Richard Roberts is executive member for adult care and health.
He said: “I want to pass on my sympathies to all the friends and families of the bereaved. It really is a heart-breaking situation for all involved but especially for those who have not been able to visit their relatives for the last time.
“I would also like to reiterate my heartfelt thanks to all those working at care homes, and in-home care. Alongside their National Health Service (NHS) colleagues, they really are doing an incredibly difficult job protecting some of the most vulnerable and elderly in society.
“Sadly, and perhaps tragically, by its very nature, the majority of people in care and nursing homes in Hertfordshire are over 85; already in need of some form of extra care and some require hospice style medical care. We, at Hertfordshire County Council, want to be as transparent and open as possible about these already stark figures and the fact that we expect these to rise further as the virus develops.”
“We’ve acted quickly to make use of the initial £26m from central government to provide a significant package of financial support to care homes to cover agency costs for staff who are either sick or in self-isolation, and fund extra staff.
“We’ve also used this money to help care homes buy PPE, set up and utilise separate COVID-19 wings, corridors, floors, within care homes to physically separate service users, with dedicated staff. We’ve also helped the NHS to release beds through a mixture of buying extra spaces in care homes and working to temporarily bringing back into use two former care homes.
“All of our care providers have access to our dedicated COVID-19 care provider hub and helpdesk phone number, which has already taken over 1,000 calls. We’ve ensured our website has the most up-to-date information and provided a daily email to support home care and care homes in collaboration with our partners, Hertfordshire Care Provider’s Association.”