Public Health England has said it is working to support a nursing home where 24 residents have died during the coronavirus outbreak, including eight who tested positive for Covid-19.
Staffordshire County Council said a total of 18 residents and one staff member had tested positive at the county’s largest care home, Bradwell Hall Nursing Home in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
The local authority said there have been 24 deaths in just over three weeks at the home, including 16 who were not tested for the virus.
The home, which has around 140 residents, has been working closely with the council, Public Health England and the NHS during the outbreak, and has been closed to new admissions for more than three weeks.
Dr Nic Coetzee, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, said: “PHE is working closely with the council, local NHS and Bradwell Hall Nursing Home to provide support and advice and ensure the residents and healthcare workers are cared for.
“The care home implemented cleansing self-shielding and self-isolation measures on PHE’s advice once symptoms developed in residents and care workers.
“Affected staff and residents continue to follow this guidance to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“PHE has given all care homes health advice about the symptoms of coronavirus and asked them to closely monitor residents, looking out for symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.”
Edward Twigge, owner of the home, 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 heartbreaking 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.
“We clearly still have a difficult few days and weeks to get through and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support at this time.”
Dr Richard Harling, the county council’s director of health and care, said the area had seen a number of care homes affected by the virus, including Bradwell Hall.
“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,” he said.
“It is a reminder to all of us why it is so important to stay at home as much as possible and follow good hygiene in order to give our amazing care workers the best chance to stay well and help protect the most vulnerable.”