Outbreaks 20 times more likely in aged care homes with 60+ residents

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A UK study has found coronavirus outbreaks are far more likely to occur in homes with 60 to 80 residents as they are in homes with fewer than 20 residents.

The newly published study examined 189 homes in the NHS Lothian area and found homes with 20 residents or less had a 5% chance of outbreak.

But in homes with 60 to 80 residents, the likelihood of an outbreak soared to 83%.

The average UK aged care home has just 36 beds, and the largest providers average just 50 beds.

The report’s author Professor Bruce Guthrie, director of the Advanced Care Research Centre at Edinburgh University, puts this down to ‘foot traffic’.

“More footfall will give you more risk of infection,” Prof Guthrie said.

Staff like agency workers, cooks and maintenance engineers is believed to be a key factor increasing the chance of elderly residents becoming infected.

Referring to death certificates, 21,600 people have died in aged care homes from COVID-19, or 40% of the UK’s 55,000 deaths.