Published: 16:49, 19 May 2020
| Updated: 17:44, 19 May 2020
There have been 17 coronavirus deaths at one care home in Kent, it has been revealed.
Grosvenor Court in Cliftonville has been one of the hardest hit homes in the county.
The 62-bed site in Fifth Avenue specialises in care for those with dementia, learning disabilities and Parkinson’s.
Individual figures for homes have not been made public during the pandemic, however, Kent County Council members were last week made aware of the startling statistics at Grosvenor Court.
It comes as a government study leaked today revealed that untested temporary workers may have spread the virus in the sector's efforts to fill vacancies left by staff in self-isolation.
More than 12,000 people have died in care homes as a result of Covid-19 - making up at least a third of the UK's death toll.
Some experts fear that total could have already surpassed 22,000.
Cliftonville is one of the worst affected areas in the county for Covid-19, with cramped living conditions and people ignoring lockdown restrictions being blamed for the built-up area becoming a virus hotspot.
County councillor Karen Constantine (Lab) was saddened by the news of the 17 deaths and says more needs to be done to safeguard care homes.
"It's a shocking and devastating number of deaths," she said.
"KCC can't fix the issue, it's down to the government to reassess the safety in our care home system.
"This isn't the fault of care home staff or managers - they are working incredibly hard.
"There are 50 care homes across Thanet and they are all run by different providers - it's therefore very fragmented at a time when everything needs to be focused.
"We need learn how the virus infection rate spiked so much. Was it one person that went into hospital, got Covid and came back, or was it a member of staff or agency worker?
"One of the main problems is, there are so many zero-hour contracts that you have a number of people working in a lot of different places.
"They're not being tested so they could easily be spreading the virus from one home to another."
A spokesman for Premiere Care Homes, which runs the site, did not wish to comment on the death toll.
However, they stressed their thoughts were with the families of those who have lost their lives, and said they were focusing on the health of residents and staff.
More by this authorJoe Wright