Coronavirus: Twenty-four deaths at Staffordshire care home

By Michele Paduano
BBC Midlands health correspondent

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image captionThe first case was reported at the home, which has 140 residents, on 23 March

Twenty-four residents have died at a care home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Eight people who died at Bradwell Hall Nursing Home in Newcastle-under-Lyme - the largest care home in Staffordshire - tested positive for Covid-19.

Others died after suffering "pneumonia-like symptoms" but were not tested.

There are a further 10 elderly residents and one member of staff who are self-isolating after testing positive for the disease.

Edward Twigge, owner of the home, said the past three weeks have been "truly heart-breaking for everyone involved".

The first case was reported at the home, which has 140 residents, on 23 March.

It has since been working with Staffordshire County Council, Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS during and has been closed to new admissions for more than three weeks.

The home implemented cleansing, self-shielding and self-isolation measures on PHE's advice once symptoms developed in residents and care workers, said Dr Nic Coetzee from PHE West Midlands.

Of the 414 members of staff, 100 were self-isolating once the first cases were discovered. The remaining staff are having their temperature taken every day when they come to work.

Over the same time period last year, there were five deaths at the home.

Dr Richard Harling, the council's director of health and care, said: "Our thoughts are of course with all those who have lost a loved one, but I would also thank the home, the families and staff for doing everything they can to support and care for these residents in these very difficult times."

Mr Twigge said: "We look after some of the most frail and elderly people and it is always upsetting when someone passes away.

"However, the last three weeks have been truly heart-breaking for everyone involved with the home. Our thoughts are still very much with the families of the lovely residents we have sadly lost.

"I would also like to say a huge thank you to our wonderful staff for their hard work and dedication during these difficult times."

Thanking people for their support, Mr Twigge added there were clearly still "a difficult few days and weeks to get through".

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