Deaths at care home being investigated by police add to sad tally

More deaths in care homes from Covid-19 have occurred in Devon and Cornwall in the first ten weeks of 2021 than in the whole of 2020.

Daniel Clark

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that up to March 12, there have been 332 deaths in care homes this year in Devon and Cornwall, compared to 315 in the whole of 2020.

Cornwall, the South Hams, and Teignbridge have seen more deaths in total from Covid-19 in 2021 than 2020.

But a year on from Lockdown 1, the lowest number of weekly deaths relating to coronavirus across Devon and Cornwall has been recorded since the start of November.

And across the South West, the total number of deaths from all causes is 8.4 per cent below the five year average for deaths.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which relate to the week of March 6 to March 12, but registered up to March 20, show that 12 of the 316 deaths registered in the two counties had Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

It is the lowest total for 18 weeks – and the lowest for 20 weeks for just deaths in hospitals.

The figures included three deaths that have occurred at Holmesley Care Home in Sidford – where seven deaths have occurred – although the other four are believed to have occurred later than March 12 and thus are not included in this dataset.

Of the 12 deaths registered in week 10 (March 6-12), there were six deaths of people from Cornwall (one care home, five hospital), three in East Devon (all care home), one care home death in Plymouth and Mid Devon, and one hospital death in Exeter.

No deaths in the Isles of Scilly, Torbay, Teignbridge Torridge (for the 2 nd week running), the South Hams (for the 3 rd week running), West Devon (for the 4 th week running) and North Devon (for the 5 th week running) were registered.

6 of the deaths occurred in care homes, with 6 in hospital.

A further three deaths from week 9 (one in Cornwall, East Devon and Exeter, all in care homes), and one death from week 8 (in a care home in Plymouth) have been added into the figure this week –

Previous weeks have seen 21, 43, 47, 84, 99, 146, 152, 78, 55, 32, 46, 48, 52, 43, 43, 37, 24, 11, 13, 15, 6, 5, 2, 0, 3, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2, 1, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 5, 1, 7, 10, 11, 15, 38, 44, 70, 85, 107, 90, 60, 16 and nine deaths registered.

In total, 1,703 deaths from coronavirus have been registered across Devon and Cornwall, with 937 in hospitals, 647 in care homes, 108 at home, four in a hospice, three in a communal establishment and four ‘elsewhere’.

Other communal establishments, as defined by the ONS, include defence bases, educational premises, prisons (including probation/bail hostel, prisons, detention centres and other detention), hotels, hostels, travel and temporary accommodation (including B&Bs, temporary shelter for homeless and holiday parks), and religious premises.

The ONS define elsewhere as all places not covered by the other definitions, such as deaths on a motorway, at the beach, climbing a mountain, walking down the street, at the cinema, at a football match, while out shopping or in someone else’s home.

Of the deaths, 563 have been registered in Cornwall, 230 in Plymouth, 200 in East Devon, 165 in Torbay, 127 in Teignbridge, 126 in Exeter, 81 in Mid Devon, 70 in North Devon, 54 in Torridge, 50 in the South Hams, 37 in West Devon, and none on the Isles of Scilly.

So far in 2021, there have been 301 deaths in Cornwall, 91 in Plymouth, 76 in East Devon, 67 in Teignbridge, 56 in Torbay, 53 in Exeter, 33 in Mid Devon, 26 in South Hams, 14 in North Devon, 13 in Torridge and 9 in West Devon.

The figures show in which local authority the deceased’s usual place of residence was. For instance, if someone may have died in Derriford Hospital but lived in West Devon, while the death may have been registered in Plymouth, their death would be recorded in the mortality statistics for the ONS figures against West Devon.

Deaths that have since March 12 will be recorded in next week’s figures, as long as the deceased lived within Devon and Cornwall, the death has been registered, and Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

[More detailed tabulation of the data can be found on the Devonlive website – Owl]