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Six die after North care home outbreak


Arlene Foster: ‘Vital’ to suppress Covid transmission. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA

Arlene Foster: ‘Vital’ to suppress Covid transmission. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA

Arlene Foster: ‘Vital’ to suppress Covid transmission. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA

Six residents at a care home in Co Fermanagh have died from Covid-19 in the past 10 days.

The outbreak at Millcroft Care Home in Enniskillen, which caters for around 70 residents, has resulted in 21 of them testing positive for the disease in addition to 18 members of staff.

There have been 126 outbreaks in care homes across the North, with the death toll now standing at 760 since the pandemic began with more than 4,000 confirmed cases recorded in the last week. A total of 407 people are being treated in the North's hospitals, with 49 in intensive care.

In a statement, a spokesman for Millcroft Care Home confirmed it had "suffered" an outbreak affecting residents and staff, having been "entirely Covid-19 free".

"There is immense sadness felt among the staff team as we have lost a number of residents to the virus. We express our sincere condolences to the families of those deceased.

"The impact of the virus has taken a personal toll on the entire Millcroft community which is effectively an extended family," the spokesman added.

With the support of the area's health trust, Millcroft said it would "continue to work through all Covid-19 outbreak protocols and maintain all infection prevention and control measures. The health and safety of our residents and staff is our primary focus at this time".

The North's First Minister Arlene Foster, who represents the constituency at Stormont, described the deaths as "devastating for the families and loved ones".

"Those working in our nursing and residential homes have been doing all in their power to protect their residents," she said. "My deepest sympathies are with those who have passed away in the Millcroft Care Home and I know the thoughts of all in the wider community are with them, too."

The Democratic Unionist leader said it was "vital" the North drives down the transmission of Covid-19, adding that progress had been made over recent weeks.

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"The R number in the community is now assessed to be below one, but we cannot become complacent and we must continue to recognise the human tragedy connected to every single Covid-19 death," she said.

Sinn Féin's Colm Gildernew, chairman of Stormont's Health Committee, said a "robust' pandemic strategy that protects the most vulnerable from the spread of the virus is required in the North.

"The Department of Health must proactively introduce an effective and consistent programme of find, test, trace, isolate and support to fight this pandemic."

He said a "well-coordinated strategy is the most effective way" to protect people and the most vulnerable.

"In the immediate term, the department must provide the necessary support to all those affected by this tragic outbreak in Millcroft Care Home," he added.

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