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Covid outbreak at Newbury care home as three residents die

Three residents from a care home in Newbury have died following a Covid outbreak within the premises.

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BBC News reports that 28 residents and 18 staff have also tested positive at Willows Edge care home in Hutton Close.

Paul Coe, Service Director for Adult Social Care at West Berkshire Council, said: "Of course we are concerned for the 28 residents that are Covid-positive, and are doing our very best to make sure those few that are not yet Covid-positive try and stay that way.

"I'd like to acknowledge the work of staff in the care home who are working in extraordinarily difficult circumstances and are doing a really good job.

"Also the fact we are getting a lot of support from colleagues across the health system, and residents' families have been really understanding and very supportive."

West Berkshire Council describe Willows Edge as a residential home with room for 38 service users, specialising in providing care for people with dementia.

Separately, West Berkshire Council said the number of confirmed Covid cases has increased significantly in the past week. On 5th December the seven-day weekly rate of Covid cases in West Berkshire was 58.7 cases per 100,000 people but it has since risen to 158.4 cases as of the 11th December. It’s an increase of 172% which is among the largest across the South East and shows how quickly things can change.

Hospital admissions have also increased by around a third across the region which is also likely to have played a part in the decision to place Berkshire in Tier 3.

Commenting on the change to Tier 3, Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “I recognise the move into Tier 3 will come as a huge disappointment to many, especially as we know many of our residents in West Berkshire have worked hard to keep themselves and each other safe. We now face tightened restrictions which will have an impact on our communities and businesses as we seek to reduce coronavirus cases across the district. We’ve been living with coronavirus for nine months now but it’s still as important as ever that we all continue to follow these rules to help reduce the transmission rates to help keep our family and friends safe.

“This news will be a difficult setback to our local businesses across the district, especially the hospitality industry, who were just getting back to opening up their premises again to now face another uncertain time. However, we knew moving to Tier 3 was a possibility and we have been preparing for this to ensure we can move quickly to support our local businesses through this.

“It will be difficult not being able to mix indoors with others, but I would ask for your continued patience as we move into the Very High tier towards the run up to the Christmas period and adhere to the Christmas Bubble rules of a maximum of three households only but to still be very careful – just because we can temporarily see more family and friends, doesn’t necessarily mean we should if there is a risk involved. There is light at the end of this long tunnel with the roll out of the vaccine that will hopefully start to see life return to normal in the New Year, but until then we still need to keep our contact with others to the bare minimum. I will talk more about this and provide an update on our COVID response during my Facebook live on Friday 18 December at 5:00pm

“We know some residents who have been affected by coronavirus will need extra support with food and household bills this winter. We’ve created a Winter Grant Scheme which will provide help to those who need it most. The last thing we want is for people to be struggling in silence so if you need some help do please get in touch as soon as possible.”

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