Coronavirus: 81 care homes in Wales with cases of coronavirus

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image captionVaughan Gething said the normal market for obtaining Personal Protective Equipment had collapsed

A total of 81 adult care homes in Wales have had one or more confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Care Inspectorate Wales.

It said 221 of 1052 registered services have one or more suspected cases.

The figure for homes with confirmed cases has increased since Tuesday morning, with officials giving different figures as the day has developed.

More than 2,000 care homes in England have seen outbreaks of the virus.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that there had been 75 care homes with confirmed cases.

In the morning, chief medical officer Frank Atherton said there had been 61 as of yesterday.

Number expected to rise

But a statement from Care Inspectorate Wales said the number was 81 in adult care homes, and three in Wales' 207 care homes for children.

There are 55 children's homes with one or more suspected case.

Earlier Mr Gething said he expects the number of confirmed cases to rise.

Asked how many tests have been carried out at care homes in Wales, he said he could not give a number immediately, but would make the figure publicly available.

Within the last week, he said, 128 tests had been carried out in care homes.

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Earlier, Wales' chief medical officer, Frank Atherton said there have been cases of infection "clusters" in some homes.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast with Oliver Hides, he said the virus "really has a predisposition to spread in closed environments."

There have been concerns about how the sector will cope with the disease without more provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).

At Tuesday's Welsh Government news conference, Mr Gething said difficulties in obtaining PPE were not the result of the UK-wide procurement of the equipment, but due to a global change in the market which has affected both the availability and price of goods.

Mr Gething said the UK-wide system guaranteed Wales a share of PPE, based on its population.

But he also said "orders from England" were "helping to crowd out the market" for obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) for Welsh care homes.

He told journalists that, at last week's meeting of health ministers across the UK, he had asked for "assurance in the delivery of that".

"And that I think requires some operational rules because I did raise examples of where companies are told supplies [are for] Wales and wouldn't deal with them," he said.

Mr Gething said the collapse of normal market conditions and supply chains meant that care homes and local authorities were not able to go out and procure supply in the way they would normally do.

"That's why over forty per cent of the pandemic stock that the NHS has held has been released to local authorities for the social care sector," he said.

Mr Gething said the UK-wide procurement approach was in Wales' best interests because Wales is a small country and the arrangements "are delivering significant supplies into Wales".

He added it was "important they continue to work but it's important that we understand the rules that everyone is operating by to make sure people are reassured about fairness here in Wales, and indeed the other three nations within the UK."

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