THERE was only one confirmed outbreak of coronavirus in all care homes in Buckinghamshire last week.

This encouraging downturn in the spread of covid-19 was reported by the council’s social care boss at a meeting earlier this week.

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Data from the Office for National Statistics indicates there have been 112 deaths involving coronavirus in Buckinghamshire care homes since April 10.

The latest available data, for Friday, May 22, showed there were zero deaths on that day.

Bucks Free Press:

Speaking about the issue at a meeting of the council’s top team on Tuesday, May 26, Angela Macpherson said: “We are in an improved position with our outbreaks of coronavirus in our care homes with only one confirmed outbreak over the last week.

“That is an encouraging downward trajectory for care homes.”

The government has asked the council to come up with a care home support plan by tomorrow (Friday, May 29).

This will include information about PPE availability, tracking processes and financial support offered to care homes, amongst other things.

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Cllr Macpherson said there was “a massive amount of work” the council had to do before the deadline, and other local authorities across the UK have said tomorrow’s cut-off point is “unrealistic”.

Despite this, Cllr Macpherson said the Local Government Association has praised the authority for the support it has already offered care homes.

Bucks Free Press:

Part of the support offered by Buckinghamshire Council’s social care teams includes regularly ringing 1,200 vulnerable clients across the county deemed to need more support because they are living alone or dependent on a carer.

These residents have been split into two categories. Those in category one get a daily phone call from the social care team asking them if they have everything they need.

Those in category two are contacted twice a week.

Cllr Macpherson claimed the feedback on this service has been “outstanding” and said she would like to see it continue in “the longer-term”.

Buckinghamshire Council leader Martin Tett added: “Personal contact is so important to people’s mental wellbeing.

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“People say the phone never rings anymore because lots of their friends have passed away and they feel very lonely.

“Actually having that phone ring and having somebody who wants to talk to them can be very meaningful.”

The cabinet meeting was held virtually on Tuesday, May 26.