Two residents have died from Covid-19 at a Sidmouth care home where police say they are investigating the circumstances of an outbreak of the virus.
Public health chiefs say the outbreak at Holmesley Care Home is ‘significant’ but there is no evidence it has spread to the wider community.
‘Devastated’ owners of the home in Fortescue Road, near Sidford, say the majority of residents and staff have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine.
Devon and Cornwall police confirmed on Thursday that it is leading an investigation into the ‘circumstances surrounding’ the outbreak in partnership with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The care home had 42 residents living there as of September 2020.
A spokesperson for Welford Healthcare, which owns Holmesley, said: “I can confirm that we are currently dealing with an outbreak of coronavirus in the home and that, sadly, two residents have passed away from the virus.
“They will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with their loved-ones at this challenging time.
“The vast majority of our residents and our staff team have received their first dose of the vaccine and we hope this may have helped prevent an even worse situation.
“Of the residents and staff who tested positive, the majority have shown either no symptoms, or mild symptoms only. We continue to monitor the situation closely, and are doing everything in our power to ensure residents receive the appropriate care.
“For nearly 12 months our staff team has worked incredibly hard to keep the virus from entering our home.
“We are therefore devastated by this outbreak and are committed to working closely with all the relevant authorities to halt the spread of infection and to investigate how the virus entered our home.
“We continue to follow all Public Health England advice on infection prevention and control.”
A spokesman for Public Health Devon said: “This is a significant outbreak in a care home, which we know will be very concerning for all its residents and their families, and staff within the home.
“As soon as we became aware of positive cases within the home, we and Devon County Council and our health colleagues have been working closely with the home to make sure that all the correct infection control measures are in place, that residents are continuing to receive the care they need, and that everything possible is being done to control the outbreak and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
“At this moment, there is no evidence to suggest that infection has spread into the local community.
“We are aware that the police have launched an investigation into the home, and will support them in that work.”
Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Bourne, of Devon and Cornwall Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a COVID-19 outbreak at Holmesley Care Home in Sidford involving a number of residents and staff.
“The investigation is being led by the police in partnership with the Care Quality Commission.”