Coronavirus: Probe continues into virus deaths at Redmill Care Home and Western General Hospital

An investigation is continuing after seven deaths were confirmed in a Covid-19 outbreak at Redmill Care Home in West Lothian.

Sunday, 11th October 2020, 5:19 pm
Redmill Care Home in East Whitburn. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
Redmill Care Home in East Whitburn. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

It comes after another outbreak at the Western General hospital was confirmed to have led to a “small number” of deaths, and the Lothians recorded another 158 new positive tests on Sunday, with 956 new cases recorded across Scotland.

No further Covid-19 deaths in Scotland were registered on Sunday.

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HC-One, which operates the Redmill Care Home, said that seven people had died with 32 other residents and 25 staff members testing positive.

The oncology ward at the Western General has been closed to new admissions following a Covid-19 outbreak.

An investigation into the outbreak by NHS Lothian is ongoing.

A total of 29 positive cases were also reported last week at Milford House care home in Edinburgh, along with a “small number” of deaths. The exact figure, between one and four, has not been released to protect patient confidentiality.

Both homes have been closed to visitors, and NHS Lothian said additional testing of staff and residents had been introduced.

An HC-One spokesman said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with all families who have lost a loved one from coronavirus.

Redmill Care Home. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“Caring for our residents and supporting our colleagues is at the heart of what we do and we are doing our utmost to support them during this difficult time.

“We have a comprehensive coronavirus contingency plan in place and we are working closely with NHS Lothian and public health to ensure we are doing all we can to support and protect our residents.

“The home has always been well supplied with the medical equipment and PPE needed to protect residents and colleagues alike.”

An Incident Management Team has been set up to investigate the outbreak, including representatives from Redmill Care Home, West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, the Care Inspectorate and NHS Lothian.

Dr Richard Othieno, public health consultant, NHS Lothian and chairman of the Incident Management Team, said the health board is working closely with Redmill Care Home, West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnerships and the Care Inspectorate to “provide all the support necessary”.

He added: “Early action to isolate residents and begin enhanced testing has enabled us to identify positive cases before they become symptomatic.

“Even without an outbreak, and without showing any of the classic symptoms of Covid-19, residents in this care home are tested if they appear at all unwell or not their usual selves.

“As in all care homes, staff are routinely tested weekly through the UK national testing portal. This vigilance and the early introduction of enhanced infection control measures gives the best chance of limiting the spread of infection.

“Repeat rounds of testing of residents and staff is continuing and the situation is being monitored very closely.”

It comes after the oncology ward at Edinburgh Western General hospital was closed to new admissions and discharges following an outbreak of the virus.

NHS Lothian said a “very small number” of patients had died, but again was not able to give the exact number over patient confidentiality.

Six other patients on the ward have tested positive for the virus.

An NHS Lothian spokesperson said: “Sadly, a very small number of patients, who had tested positive for the virus, have since died. Our thoughts are with their family at this sad time. We are unable to be specific about the number because the total is fewer than five.

“Six other patients have been confirmed with Covid-19 and the oncology ward has been closed to new admissions and discharges while investigations are underway and to allow tests to be carried out.

"All patients have been told of the outbreak and contact tracing, where necessary for visitors or outpatients, is being carried out by NHS Lothian’s Health Protection Team and the nationwide Test and Protect teams.”

It emerged over the weekend that visitors to the ward prior to the outbreak did not have their temperatures checked before coming into contact with patients, in accordance with NHS Lothian policy.

Visitors were told they should wear masks, although it was reported that some had been seen without.

An NHS spokesperson said that people were asked to wear masks on the ward, and that both masks and hand sanitiser were provided.

An Incident Management Team has been set up to investigate the outbreak.

Dr Donald Inverarity, Consultant Microbiologist, NHS Lothian, and Chair of the IMT, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased and I would like to express our sincere condolences.

“A multidisciplinary Incident Management Team (IMT) was immediately established and all necessary infection control measures are in place. The situation will continue to be reviewed and monitored very closely.

“The enhanced outbreak testing regime allows us to identify staff and patients who have the virus before they become symptomatic.

“That gives us the opportunity to introduce enhanced infection control measures and barriers sooner than we would previously have been able. It allows staff to begin self-isolation and patients to be moved into co-horted groups before they become symptomatic, which in turn reduces the likelihood of passing on the infection to others."

Overall, 956 new Covid-19 cases were recorded on Sunday, down from the 1,009 cases on Saturday and Friday’s record high of 1,246 positive test results.

This represents 14.9 per cent of newly-tested individuals, up from 14.1 per cent on Saturday.

A total of 449 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital as of Saturday night, 17 more than the previous night.

Of these patients, 35 were in intensive care, an increase of one.

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