The deaths of residents at north-east care homes where more than 130 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded have been described as a tragic reminder of the “immense danger” of the virus.
A total of 84 cases have been recorded at Inchmarlo House Care Home near Banchory in Aberdeenshire, where at least five people have died.
And 52 cases have been detected at the Deeside Care Home in Cults, Aberdeen, over the past four weeks.
Incident management teams (IMTs) have been established for the two outbreaks, and yesterday the operators of the Cults facility confirmed that “some” residents had died after testing positive.
A spokeswoman for the Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP), NHS and the Inchmarlo home said: “There are now 84 detected cases of Covid-19 associated with Inchmarlo House Care Home.
“The AHSCP and NHS Grampian continue to support Inchmarlo and are deploying staff into the home to help in supporting the management and staff team to continue to care for residents.
“The home is still closed to new admissions, visiting and staff.”
An Inchmarlo Care Home spokesman declined to comment on the deaths.
He added: “Everyone at Inchmarlo Care Home is wholly focused on the care of residents and is giving 100% of their time to this just now.”
A spokesman representing Deeside Care Home, ACHSCP and NHS Grampian would not confirm how many residents had died there.
He said: “During the last month, there has been an ongoing investigation into cases of Covid-19 associated with the Deeside Care Home. The current cumulative total is 52 cases. Both staff and residents have been affected.
“The home is closed to new admissions and visiting.
“Staff have implemented an enhanced cleaning regime. Care is being delivered as normal and the health protection team is providing full support to the facility’s management.”
Bosses stressed the home had been fully equipped with all necessary PPE, all guidelines had been adhered to, and staff were trained in infection prevention.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that following routine testing as part of a rigorous, ongoing programme, a number of staff and residents at the home have tested positive for Covid-19.
“It is with great sadness that we also regret some of the residents who tested positive have subsequently passed away.
“Their families have been advised and we extend our deepest sympathy to everyone who has lost a loved one.
“In accordance with government guidelines all staff and residents who tested positive isolated for the required period. The majority of the staff affected have since returned to work with the remainder due back shortly.
“This is an extremely difficult time for those in our care, their families, friends and our staff.”
Banchory and Mid Deeside councillor Ann Ross said: “This shows how dangerous this virus is, and why we need to beware, be vigilant and follow the guidance.
“I would also say this highlights the importance of the vaccine being rolled out to care homes, and residents and staff being vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn said: “My condolences go out to the family and friends of those who have died – this is clearly a deeply worrying situation.
“This is a very sad reminder that this virus has not gone away – we cannot forget the immense danger that coronavirus continues to present.”