Multiple Devon care homes hit with covid cases

Multiple Torbay care homes have been reporting Covid infections, the council’s director of public health has confirmed.

Edward Oldfield

Speaking this week, Dr Lincoln Sergeant said that 17 residents and six staff in Torbay’s care homes have recently tested positive for the virus, with nine cases in one home alone.

The premises involved have not been revealed by the health director.

Dr Sergeant does not believe the break outs are because of poor infection control.

He said: “What we think is happening is that the homes are being bombarded by the higher background rate [of infections] for quite some time.”

He argues it is unlikely that a single breakout event has occurred and more probable that separate instances of infection entering the homes are happening, such as residents receiving visits from people with Covid.

Dr Sergeant said: “It just shows that when the background rates are high it’s very very difficult to prevent infections from getting in.

“Even doing the right things you will get the occasional breakthrough.”

One unvaccinated resident was taken to hospital, although no deaths have been reported as a result of the outbreak.

“The majority appear to be recovering nicely. We hope that situation holds into the future,” Dr Sergeant said.

Last month, infections in Torbay reached their highest recorded level since the pandemic began, with 960 cases in the week commencing 11 July.

Since then rates have fallen, with 564 new cases recorded in the week commencing 25 July.

During an outbreak in Torbay’s care homes in March, 11 residents and 20 staff tested positive.

Another outbreak happened in care homes in the Bay in late May.

Younger adults are now more likely to come down with the virus in Torbay.

As of 28 July, the weekly figure for people testing positive aged under 60 in the area was 532 people per 100,000, compared with just 102 per 100,000 for older people.