MORE than a quarter of coronavirus deaths in Barnsley have been in the town’s care homes, the Chronicle can reveal.

Almost 40 care homes have been affected with at least one coronavirus death.

Latest data shows a total of 229 residents out of the 828 that have died across the borough have been in care settings - more than 27 per cent.

The two worst-hit are both defined as ‘large’ in size - Mapplewell Manor and Highgrove in Stairfoot - both of which saw 20 residents die of Covid during the pandemic.

Mapplewell Manor’s staff were the first in the industry to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in December - a ‘ground-breaking’ moment at the time.

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Dan Ryan, MHA’s director of operations - the firm behind Mapplewell Manor - told the Chronicle: “Every number in the report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is a person.

“They were greatly loved and sorely missed partners, mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends, and those of us who cared for them will always remember them.

“This demonstrates the scale of devastation which the Covid-19 pandemic has brought upon vulnerable older people and those who work tirelessly to care for them.

“All of us learned an enormous amount from the early days of the pandemic, following guidance in the enhanced use of personal protective equipment (PPE), how testing became such a key tool in spotting asymptomatic cases and how vaccines are now helping reduce instances of serious illness and cut transmission.

“MHA’s experience was that we lost more of our residents in the first wave, compared to the second.

“Routine testing, clearer guidance and the commencement of the roll-out of the vaccine programme made a real difference in our ability to respond to the pandemic.

“However, the Kent variant caused significant outbreaks in the second wave.”

Coun Jenny Platts, cabinet spokesperson for adults and communities, said: “Barnsley Council’s social care, CCG, NHS and care homes’ staff have worked extremely hard during the pandemic to make sure residents and staff within care homes across the borough have been safe and supported throughout the last 18 months.

“Since the vaccination programme has been rolled out, with its focus on protecting the elderly and most vulnerable first, the numbers of overall cases, severe illness and deaths in older and more vulnerable people and care home residents has reduced dramatically as a result.

“We continue to address the wellbeing of residents and staff in care homes as this has been a challenging period for people across the country and in Barnsley.”