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Coronavirus: Durham County Council accused of 'increasing' deaths

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At least 25 people have died at a care home amid claims from an industry body that a council's actions "caused" or "increased COVID-19 deaths".

Melbury Court in Durham is thought to be the care home with the highest number of deaths in the UK. County Durham has had the highest number of care home deaths in England and Wales.

Durham County Council said it "strongly refuted" the claim by the County Durham Care Home Association (CDCHA).

Some patients went from the nearby University Hospital of North Durham to Melbury Court without being tested for coronavirus or after a positive test.

A BBC investigation has discovered that in a conference call in late March, council officials were told plans to move hospital patients into care homes without testing would be disastrous.

The CDCHA offered to find a specific home or homes where COVID-19 positive or untested people could be cared for rather than have them spread around the network, but this was never acted on and now the CDCHA has calculated there has been an outbreak of coronavirus in 81 of the county's 149 care homes.

Maria Vincent, who runs Crosshill Care Home in Stanhope, told the council in March that care homes were not set up to accept COVID-19 patients, and described it as "neglect pure and simple".

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Source: BBC News, 2 June 2020

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