ALMOST 100 care home residents in Blackburn with Darwen died with coronavirus, according to a new report.

The study, undertaken by the Care Quality Commission, details the number of Covid related deaths in every care home in England between April 10 2020 to March 31 this year.

The findings show that 99 people in total died with coronavirus in Blackburn with Darwen care homes, but this is far lower than infection rates in the community would suggest.

The borough’s director of public health Professor Dominic Harrison said: “One of the key points in the CQC report about death rates in care homes is that in general the care home rates are likely to reflect the mortality rate from Covid in the communities in which they are based.

“So broadly speaking we would expect areas with higher rates to then have higher number of deaths in care homes.

“We know that Blackburn with Darwen has been particularly hard hit but our care home rates are nowhere near the higher rates in the country.”

Explaining how this was accomplished, he added: “We were one of the early adopters of various measures to protect care homes because some of the evidence from China showed that care homes were particularly vulnerable.

“So we as a system acted on that fairly early on.”

He added: “So I think, looking at the death notifications we have a substantially better record in our care homes than the rates in the community as a whole would suggest.”

The CQC study showed that 46 people died in Blackburn with Darwen care homes after having contracted the virus during the first quarter of 2020/21, with no deaths recorded for the second quarter, 18 in the third quarter and 35 in the fourth.

Deaths from the virus reached double figures in three care homes, all of which are classified as “large” sized.

They are Haydock Nursing and Residential Home, which recorded a total of 11 deaths, Eachstep Blackburn, which recorded 10 and Birch Hall Care Centre, Darwen, which recorded 15.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan said: “I would like to offer our sincere condolences and thoughts to everyone who has lost family or loved ones throughout this pandemic.

"Covid has had a terrible impact, especially among our most vulnerable residents including those in care homes.

"One life lost is too many and we have seen far too many lost during this period due to the pandemic."

Cllr Khan agreed with Professor Harrison about the success of safety measures taken in care comes but urged visitors to remain cautious.

He said: “Our care homes have done a very thorough job carrying out national guidance and working to help and care for and protect the residents as much as possible through this period.

“We urge all visitors to care homes to carry on taking all necessary precautions needed including testing and wearing any required PPE.”

The commission said it was publishing figures on death notifications it received from individual homes for the first time in a bid to be transparent, following earlier requests to share the data.

It warned that factors that could influence the number of deaths include rates of local community transmission, care home size and residents’ age and health and care needs.

Care homes in the North West reported the highest number of Covid-related deaths in the first wave of the pandemic.

This region also had the highest number of deaths involving coronavirus in the wider community, according to figures from Public Health England.

Between April 10 and June 30, 37 large care homes in the country each recorded at least 20 deaths involving Covid-19, of which 21 were in the North West.

In the final quarter, when the second wave peaked, the South East saw the most deaths involving coronavirus of care home residents and in wider society.

Deaths among care home residents fell significantly until they started to rise in again in quarter four, January to February, when the second wave peaked and resulted in 59 care home residents dying.

Across England, more than 39,000 care home residents died from the virus.