Covid-19: Nine die during outbreak at Berkshire care home

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image captionThe council said it was not known how the virus entered the home

Nine residents of a Berkshire care home have died following an outbreak of Covid-19.

West Berkshire Council said 31 residents and 24 members of staff have so far tested positive at Willows Edge care home in Newbury.

The authority said it was working with Public Health England to contain the outbreak, which began on 6 December.

The council-run home specialises in providing care for dementia patients and can accommodate up to 38 people.

The first resident tested positive on 6 December and five had died by Christmas. The council confirmed a further four had died since.

Twenty-two residents have made "a good recovery" and one member of staff has not returned to work after catching the virus, the council said.

In November, the council decided to close the run-down Walnut Close Care Home in Thatcham and move the 17 residents and 25 full-time staff to the other care homes it runs, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Most of the residents and staff are now due to be moved to Birchwood Care Home in Newbury, but some could be sent to Willows Edge or Notrees Care Home in Hungerford.

The council insisted it would test all residents before moving them and said the transfer would be suspended if there were any outbreaks.

During the pandemic, 118 have died in West Berkshire within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

The district had one of the lowest infection rates (54.9 cases per 100,000) in the country when the second national lockdown ended on 2 December.

But after a surge in cases, driven by the new strain of the virus, West Berkshire's infection rate now stands at 337 cases per 100,000 people.

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