30 Covid deaths at one care home in Oldham

Reporter: Charlotte Green
Date published: 13 June 2020

Chadderton has seen the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in Greater Manchester and all of them were in just one care home, it can be revealed.

According to figures released yesterday (12th June) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there have been 221 deaths citing Covid-19 in Oldham.

The postcode area of Chadderton Central is tied with Leigh East and Higher Fold in Wigan as the areas hardest hit by the virus in the region.

There were 30 deaths registered involving coronavirus in Chadderton Central.

Chief clinical officer at Oldham CCG, Dr John Patterson confirmed that all 30 deaths were at the Chadderton Total Care Unit care home at Middlewood Court.

According to the Care Quality Commission, the service provides care for up to 146 people with a ‘variety of social and nursing needs including physical and learning disability, dementia related disease, and acquired brain injury’. 

There were no deaths recorded in March, but there was then a huge spike in April where 26 people tragically lost their lives.

A further four people died in May. 

Dr Patterson said the upturn in deaths coincided with the peak of the pandemic in the north west, in mid April. 

“In Chadderton there is one of our largest care homes and it’s a very good care home and because it’s so good it takes the most vulnerable and it also has a nursing part to it,” he said.

“So all the deaths that you see at that period of time on the ONS data set from that patch are deaths from a care home.

“We haven’t uncovered any concerns about the care that was there but Covid at that time, given the head start that it got in the country, had a big impact on that population.”

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they worked to turn the tide by putting together a team of community nurses to go into care homes and help with infection control.

They also began swabbing staff and residents for the virus a week before the government advised testing to be carried out in care facilities.

“Since then we’ve seen the number of cases and deaths in care homes plummet to the point that in two of the weeks in May we only had one excess death recorded,” Dr Patterson said.

“Which I think is evidence that we managed to get on top of the very real problem of Covid in care homes.”

Without the care home data being included, there was also no evidence of ‘postcode hotposts’ of coronavirus in Oldham, he explained.

But he added that the list of names of people that had passed away since the pandemic struck was ‘too long’.

Dr Patterson said:  “It’s not just a list of names, it’s a list of people and whose wives we still look after, whose sons we still want to get to university.

“One death is too many but every death is personal in Oldham.

“We welcome the data because it helps us do the right things.”

Chadderton Total Care Unit Limited did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by the LDRS.

The statistics cover the period from the beginning of March to May 31, and record cases where coronavirus was the underlying cause or mentioned on the death certificate as a contributory factor.

The area of Oldham that saw the next highest Covid-19 related deaths was the area of New Delph, Dobcross and Austerlands, where 20 people sadly passed away, 18 of them in April.

Hathershaw and Salem both saw 13 deaths during the three month period.

However the areas of Wood End and Alt had the lowest figures, with each seeing just two deaths connected with the virus.

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