NHS Lothian report care home deaths as 82 residents and staff test positive with coronavirus

Residents have died and dozens of people have tested positive in new coronavirus outbreaks at two care homes in Scotland.

NHS Lothian said a “small number” of residents at Redmill Care Home (pictured) in East Whitburn, West Lothian and Milford House in Edinburgh have died after getting the virus.

The health board said the number of people who have died cannot be released as it is under five across both homes.

More than 80 residents and staff in total at both homes have tested positive and further testing is being carried out.

In addition to those who died, 53 further residents and staff have been confirmed to have coronavirus at Redmill Care Home, with 29 at Milford House.

NHS Lothian is leading an investigation into the outbreaks and said the homes were closed to visitors and additional testing of all staff and residents was introduced as soon as the first cases were identified.

Care Home Support Teams from the health board and Edinburgh and West Lothian health and social care partnerships have visited both homes to “provide more support to staff around updated guidance, personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control measures”, NHS Lothian said in a statement.

Dr Frederike Garbe, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lothian, said: “We are working really closely with both care homes, the health and social care partnerships and the Care Inspectorate to provide all the support necessary.

“The enhanced outbreak testing regime allows us to identify staff and residents who have the virus before they become symptomatic.

“That gives us the opportunity to introduce enhanced infection control measures and barriers sooner than we would previously have been able to.

“It allows staff and residents to commence self-isolation before they become symptomatic, which in turn reduces the likelihood of passing on the infection to others.

“As part of the infection control measures, the homes were closed to visitors.

“We know this is difficult for residents and their relatives, but it is necessary to ensure the outbreaks are brought under control as quickly as possible and we thank relatives for their co-operation and understanding.”

The UK’s largest care homes operator HC-One runs Redmill Care Home and Renaissance Care – which has 15 homes across Scotland – owns Milford House.

Scottish Labour Lothian MSP Neil Findlay urged HC-One and NHS Lothian to “be transparent with staff and residents about the outbreak and their plans to tackle it” and expressed his condolences for the families of those who died.

He added: “This outbreak demonstrates that care homes remain a key front line in the fight against Covid-19.

“It is crucial that routine testing of care home residents and staff is maintained across Scotland, and extended to everyone involved in care-giving responsibilities.”

An HC-One spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with all families who have lost a loved one from coronavirus and we are doing our utmost to support them during this difficult time.

“Following routine testing, we can confirm Redmill Care Home is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak.

“We are taking all necessary precautions to minimise the risk of transmission to other colleagues and residents.

“This includes continuing to implement our robust infection control measures across the home and closing the home to non-essential visitors.”

She said the firm is working with NHS Lothian and public health.

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