A council leader has warned people to stay indoors to prevent coronavirus from spreading after 15 people died in one care home.
Cllr Hazel Simmons, head of Luton Council, confirmed the deaths at the town’s Castletroy Residential and Nursing Home.
While they have not been directly attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, Cllr Simmons urged locals to use the “tragedy” as a stark reminder to adhere to the national lockdown.
“We are all desperately sad to hear about the tragic situation at Castletroy Residential and Nursing Home,” she said.
“To lose so many residents in one care home is heartbreaking and our love, thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those who have died, as well as the staff at the home.
“The council are supporting the staff at the home and offering support to the relatives of all those affected during this very difficult period.
“This tragedy serves as another reminder of how important it is that we all follow the government guidance and stay at home to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.”
The grim news came after similar spikes in fatalities at other care homes, including seven at the same care home in east London and 16 at one in Glasgow.
Hawthorn Green Residential and Nursing Home, in Stepney Green, confirmed the seven deaths three weeks after its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
All of the patients who died also had multiple, chronic, underlying health conditions.
The 16 deaths at Glasgow’s Burlington Court Care Home came eight days after a suspected outbreak of the illness, with two staff requiring hospital treatment after testing positive.
The residents who died all had underlying health conditions.
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There have been concerns raised about the potentially devastating impact of coronavirus in care homes, where many residents will be especially vulnerable.
Sky News has learned that care homes are being asked to take in hospital patients who have tested positive, with one care home owner in Devon accusing the government of sacrificing the elderly.
New guidelines say negative tests for coronavirus are not required prior to the admittance of a new patient, and care homes could also be asked to take in people currently living in their own homes without any kind of testing.
Care home staff have also expressed concern about a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Deaths in care homes are not included in the daily figures reported by the Department for Health, which only reports those who have died in hospital after testing positive.
Total UK fatalities now stand at 7,097, but separate numbers from the Office for National Statistics suggest one in 14 coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales could be happening outside hospitals.