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Coronavirus: Fifteen virus deaths at Wavertree care home

Exterior of Oak Springs care home Image copyright Google
Image caption Oak Springs Care Home had to appeal for staff after 50 of its 72 workers had to self-isolate

Fifteen residents in a care home have died of suspected coronavirus in the past two weeks, its manager has said.

Andrea Lyons, who runs Oak Springs in Wavertree, Liverpool, said it was "like losing 15 grandparents".

New Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows more than 217 people had died of Covid-19 in care homes in England and Wales up to 3 April.

And a healthcare body has warned the spread of coronavirus in care homes has "largely gone under the radar".

The NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said this was due to the way data on deaths has been collected.

Age UK said current figures on coronavirus deaths "are airbrushing older people".

Image caption Andrea Lyons, who runs Oak Springs care home, said it was "like losing 15 grandparents"

Among other care homes affected by the pandemic was Stanley Park, in Stanley, County Durham where 13 residents have died after displaying symptoms of the virus.

There have also been nine deaths at Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston, Nottinghamshire, from suspected coronavirus.

Edgemont View Nursing Home, on the outskirts of Bristol, has reported a "number" of deaths linked to the pandemic.

The government has confirmed there have been outbreaks at more than 2,000 care homes in England, but did not specify the number of deaths that had occurred.

"The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don't matter," Age UK director Caroline Abraham said.

Britain's largest care home operator HC-One said coronavirus was present in two-thirds - 232 - of its homes.

The ONS figures show more than one in five deaths in England and Wales is linked to coronavirus, with Covid-19 mentioned on 3,475 death certificates in the week ending 3 April.

Unlike the daily figures, which only include people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and died in hospital, the ONS includes deaths in other settings.

Its data shows one in 10 coronavirus deaths this year have been in the community with more than half - 217 - in care homes.

'Very difficult time'

Ms Lyons said: "It is like losing 15 grandparents all in the space of two weeks.

"You spend every day with these people - 12 hours a day - often more than... your own family.

"It has been a very difficult time."

Oak Springs appealed earlier this month for more "hands-on" staff after 50 of its 72 workers had to self-isolate.

Ms Lyons said she had managed to fill the rota after an "absolutely amazing response" from agency staff, ex-doctors and Liverpool City Council.

An independent care home in Southport, Merseyside, with 25 residents, said it had not had a single case of the virus or any staff off self-isolating.

Lynsey Mylrea, who runs Glade Residential Care, said: "I had a sixth sense and pre-empted the government lockdown by about three weeks. I'm so glad I did."

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