The COVID-19 Long-Term Care situation in Wales

Siôn Jones and Pietro Patrignani

Key findings:

  • The first COVID-19 case in Wales was confirmed on 28 February 2020 and the first COVID-19 death in Wales was recorded on 16 March.
  • Initial policy responses in Wales took place to a similar timescale to the policy responses across the rest of the UK.
  • Devolved responsibilities for many relevant policy areas (including health and social care) mean that the policy response in Wales has been different, for example, lockdown restrictions in Wales have been relaxed more slowly than they were in England.
  • Across the Welsh population, the number of new deaths from COVID-19 reported daily started to decline in mid-April and by the end of May was running at about 10 deaths per day.
  • Within adult care homes in Wales specifically, the number of deaths almost doubled in the period mid-March to early June (weeks 12 to 23), compared to the same period in previous years.
  • During this period around 40% – 45% of ‘excess’ deaths of adult care home residents in Wales were not attributed to COVID-19, suggesting that there may be a substantial number of deaths related to the pandemic, but currently not attributed to COVID-19.
  • We estimate that around 11.2% of all adult care home residents in Wales died in the COVID-19 period in 2020, compared to an average of 5.7% during the same period in previous years.
  • For Wales there are very limited or no data available on the impacts of COVID-19 on care workers, on recipients of domiciliary care services, or on unpaid carers. Neither are there any published data available on the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Welsh care homes. Some of these data are available in other parts of the UK.

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