BREAKING NEWS at 1.30pm today: Across West Dunbartonshire , there are 11 Care Homes, three of which are run by the Local Authority and eight by external providers. Within these homes there are currently 459 residents and almost 800 members of staff. To meet the testing needs of the latest guidance, a team of district nurses have been trained to conduct testing within homes for both staff and residents. A programme of testing started on Monday 11 May in those homes locally where they have cases, and is planned to continue through the next week. As at Thursday 14 May, 168 residents and 151 staff have been tested across 4 care homes. To date the results received are for 104 residents, with 6% testing positive, and for 37 staff, with 3% positive.
Deprived areas and women are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.
By Bill Heaney
Figures released from the National Records of Scotland has shown that the Covid-19 death toll has continued to increase, both nationally and here in West Dunbartonshire.
They also show that the number of deaths in West Dunbartonshire care homes where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate is higher than the number of Covid-19 registered hospital deaths.
Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, released figures which showed that up to 10 May, there were 48 deaths registered as being related to Covid-19 in West Dunbartonshire care homes compared to 47 in hospitals. This is an increase from 41 Covid-19 care homes deaths last week, 34 deaths two weeks ago and up from 26 deaths on 19 April.
At the same time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in her daily briefing in Edinburgh at lunchtime that nationally another 46 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the Scottish total under the measurement she has been using to 2053.
West Dunbartonshire has the eleventh highest Covid-19 care home deaths of any local authority and the ninth highest hospital deaths. In terms of the number of Covid-19 deaths per 10,000 of the population for each local authority, West Dunbartonshire has the second highest death rate in the country, with Inverclyde in first place.
The figures also highlighted that across Scotland, 45% of Covid-19 deaths occurred in Scottish care homes – an increase of 2% on figures up to 3 May and up a full 20% from one month ago on 15 April.
Jackie Baillie has consistently raised grave concerns about the extent to which Covid-19 has been found in West Dunbartonshire care homes.
For more than two months, she has been calling for a full supply of quality PPE to be given to every social care worker and for every care home resident and care home staff member in the local authority to be tested.
Cllr Jonathan McColl, who leads the SNP administration on West Dunbartonshire Council, could not be found to answer questions on what the current situation in regard to that is here.
This week Jackie Baillie also raised concerns regarding suspected under-reporting of Covid-19 care home deaths after being contacted by care home staff who believe that the numbers of deaths are under-reported.
Furthermore, NRS figures this week showed that women and those in the most deprived areas were at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 than those from wealthier social groups.
She said: “Once again we see that the care home death toll has risen. This goes to show that despite promises from care home management, West Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government, clearly not enough is being done.
“The Scottish Government and West Dunbartonshire Council have been warned time and time again – both by me and by worried care home staff and the families of residents.
“It is also deeply worrying that West Dunbartonshire has the second highest death toll per head of the population in Scotland as a whole. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde must investigate why West Dunbartonshire has been so badly hit by this virus.
“The hard working staff in care homes and hospitals are doing everything they can to keep themselves and those they care for safe.
“But without the active support of the Government, constant testing and availability of PPE, they face a battle that they have no hope of winning.”
Ms Baillie added: ““It also worries me to learn that those in more deprived areas are at higher risk of contracting the virus. West Dunbartonshire has some of the most deprived communities in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government must address this inequality immediately in order to save lives and protect those most at risk.
“My condolences go out to all the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives to this awful virus.”