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Bexley “as prepared as it can be” for any coronavirus second wave

By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter

Senior staff at Bexley council say they are as “prepared as they can be” for a second wave of the deadly coronavirus, if it hits.

“We’ve learned invaluable lessons through the Covid process,” Stuart Rowbotham, director of adult social care and health, told members of the authority’s children’s and adult’s service scrutiny committee.

He added there was now a “phenomenal stash of PPE” in the borough, after health and social services across the UK were stretched to the brink during the first wave.

He said: “We’ve learnt a huge amount about the value of testing for care settings, and we have a phenomenal stash of PPE, so we’re very well placed in regards to the supply of PPE and have high confidence in supply chains.”

He also said council services now had a better understanding of the joint effort required to battle the virus.

“In particular we need to meet this challenge as a partnership with our NHS colleagues, our voluntary sector and council departments,” he said.

Chairman Cafer Munur said it was “quite clear the feeling is the council has done a wonderful job in terms of response”.

The same meeting saw a report presented showing how many deaths had been recorded in the borough and attributed to coronavirus.

Figures show that from January to the end of May, 1,154 people had died in the borough, with 209 of these from Covid-19, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Of the 209 Covid-related deaths, 27 of these had occurred in care homes (272 deaths overall had occurred in care homes in the same time).

The figures showed the percentage of deaths in care homes (272 of a total of 1,154 residents, or 24 per cent) in Bexley outweighed the London average (19 per cent), but not the UK’s (27 per cent).

However, the rate of Covid-19-related deaths in Bexley’s care homes (10 per cent) was lower than both London and the national average (21 and 17 per cent, respectively).

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