'Several' residents at care home in Cornwall die from Covid

‘Several’ residents at care home in Cornwall die from Covid as bosses say staff are ‘working tirelessly’ to contain outbreak

  • Several residents at Chyvarhas home in Callington, Cornwall, have passed away 
  • Cornwall Care’s Anne Thomas said staff ‘working tirelessly’ to contain outbreak
  • The region is the only area of mainland England placed under Tier 1 restrictions
  • It comes amid mounting confusion over No10’s priority list for the Covid vaccine 

‘Several’ residents at a care home in Cornwall have died from Covid-19 as bosses say staff are ‘working tirelessly’ to contain an outbreak.

Cornwall Care said there had been a number of cases at Chyvarhas home in Callington and ‘several of our much-loved residents have very sadly passed away’.

It comes amid mounting confusion over No10’s priority list for the Covid-19 vaccine, after advisers yesterday insisted care home residents were at the front of the queue for any vaccine. 

But officials warned administering Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab to the most vulnerable population would be a logistical nightmare because of a regulatory ban on splitting deliveries of the vaccine into smaller batches. 

Meanwhile, testing kits have been sent out to almost 400 large care homes, meaning the first visits could take place yesterday – with visitors cleared of Covid on arrival. 

Cornwall Care said there had been a number of cases at Chyvarhas home (pictured above) in Callington and ‘several of our much-loved residents have very sadly passed away’

Anne Thomas, CEO of the care provider, said: ‘Our team are working tirelessly to contain the outbreak and look after those who are poorly.

‘This is a very difficult situation and our hearts go out to everyone involved.

‘We are in constant contact with the families of those affected and are being supported by our local GP, health colleagues and the local community.’

Chyvarhas in Cornwall, which has been placed under Tier 1 restrictions, is described as a 36-bed nursing home for people in need of residential care and nursing care.

Many care homes have only dozens of residents, meaning that even the smallest vaccine package would be far too many doses and lay hundreds of jabs to waste. 

The vaccine — which requires two doses taken three weeks apart — comes in packs of between 975 and 4,875 doses packaged in 1.5ml vials that have five doses each inside them. 

Anne Thomas (pictured above), CEO of the care provider, said the team are ‘working tirelessly to contain the outbreak’

But the MHRA, which regulates the safety of drugs and vaccines, has not yet given permission for these to be split up into smaller batches than 975 at a time. 

NHS England’s chief executive Sir Simon Stevens last night said that he expects the MHRA to work out a way to break down the deliveries into smaller packages and Britain could ‘start distributing to care homes’ as soon as that is approved.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said: ‘We currently expect to receive [it] very, very shortly in the UK, and I do mean hours, not days.’ 

Cornwall is the only area of mainland England that has been placed into the lowest level of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

In Tier 1, a maximum of six people can meet indoors or outdoors, while hospitality venues may offer table service with last orders at 10pm.

In Tier 2 however, hospitality venues must close unless serving substantial meals with drinks. 

Guidelines issued by the Department of Health say the ‘default position’ is visits should go ahead in all tiers – unless there is a coronavirus outbreak in the care home.

In a major shift in policy, Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) has declared that all care home residents will be allowed face-to-face indoor visits by Christmas

Most of the country’s 410,000 care residents have been allowed to see relatives only through prison-style screens and windows. Other homes have imposed blanket bans, causing some elderly to ‘give up on life’.

But in a major shift in policy, Matt Hancock declared all residents will be allowed face-to-face indoor visits by Christmas. The Health Secretary said: ‘I know how difficult it has been for people in care homes and their families to be apart for so long. The separation has been painful but has protected residents and staff from this deadly virus.

‘I’m so pleased we are now able to help reunite families and more safely allow people to have meaningful contact with their loved ones by Christmas.’

The rapid tests will be delivered to all the country’s 16,000 care homes over the course of the month. On arrival, visitors will receive a lateral flow test, which gives highly-accurate results within 30 minutes.

A negative result means they will be allowed indoors and can hold hands or hug their loved one as long as they are wearing PPE.

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