CARE homes in St Helens have been free from coronavirus for two weeks, official figures have shown.

The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating on the borough’s care homes, with 82 deaths linked to the virus, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

One care home, St Helens Hall and Lodge Care Home, in Thatto Heath, saw 18 residents die from Covid-19 related symptoms, according to the home’s owner, Sandstone Care Group.

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At the peak of the outbreak, 77 positive cases were reported by care providers in St Helens in a single week, while 103 people were symptomatic.

In recent weeks the picture has been a much improved one, however.

The last time a death was linked to Covid-19, according to data provided by St Helens Borough Council, was in the week leading up to June 5.

The latest council data shows that no people in the borough’s care homes tested positive for Covid-19 in the two weeks leading up to July 31.

In addition, no residents have shown any coronavirus symptoms in this two-week period.

The council said the data is gathered daily directly from each care home and is accurate at the time of collation.

It said the data differ from figures from other official sources, such as Public Health England or the ONS, as there may be a delay in official sources of information.

Rachel Cleal, director of adult services at St Helens Borough Council, said last month that had been “personally floored by the continued commitment and dedication of the carers that work in our borough.”

Ms Cleal was presenting a report to the People’s Board that outlined the financial challenges faced by care providers as a consequence of Covid-19 and what was being done to support the sector.

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The council has an obligation to ensure that contracted adult social care services remain financially sustainable.

Officers have worked with providers and the wider health and care system to understand and respond to the challenges of the pandemic.

The report said that, in line with Government objectives, the council is “committed to meeting the totality of the costs associated with Covid-19”.