CITY of York Council has come under fire after refusing to reveal which care homes in York have been stricken by coronavirus outbreaks.

The authority told The Press that it knows how many residents have died from Covid-19 and in which homes, but “that level of detail is not published to protect patient confidentiality and because most are private care homes”.

But York Central MP Rachael Maskell claimed there was a clear public interest in such information being published and the “lack of transparency” was creating risks.

She said: “Having spoken to families, some have said that they would have made alternative arrangements for their parent in care had they known of the infection in their care home.”

She dismissed the council’s arguments for non-publication, saying: “We are not wanting to know the identity of individuals but family members need to know if there is an infection control issue, so that they can determine the actions that they want to take.

“As CYC have responsibility for all public health for the city, whether they are private or not is irrelevant. They commission beds from these locations, so relatives have a wider interest.”

She said the council not only had an oversight on public health but also purchased beds from a range of private care home providers in York.

“I will continue to ask questions on behalf of grieving relatives until I get answers.”

She said she had been told there had been “three or four” outbreaks in the York area but given no details.

She said one relative had visited a home of their parent who was dying after being told there was no Covid. “Their spouse has cancer and is in the extremely vulnerable category. Then on learning that there were cases of Covid-19, they have had to distance.”

Cllr Anna Perrett, shadow executive member for health and adult social care, said York has experienced a higher than average number of deaths from people in care homes.

“It is important that elected representatives are given enough information to understand why this is the case,” she said.

“We want to know how the situation was managed in individual care settings to be assured that we did everything we could to protect some of our most vulnerable residents during this outbreak.”

A council spokeswoman said York’s MPs were provided with regular updates on the support given by the council to care homes in York.

“This includes the fast-declining rate of cases and the very sad news of Covid-related deaths, as well as information from infection control measures to recruitment of staff.

“Our and our partners’ support for the city’s care homes has been acknowledged as among the most timely and effective in the country, and our longer-term support plans for the sector are published at” She added the number of deaths in care homes across the city was publicly available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday that 65 residents’ deaths had been recorded in care homes in the council’s area up to June 12, following one more death in the previous week.